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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 1039:
Trust Us to Repay: Social Trust, Long-Term Interest Rates and Sovereign Credit Ratings

Andreas Bergh ()

Abstract: This paper asks whether the sensitivity of market long-term interest rates and credit ratings is associated with cross-country differences in informal institutions, measured by social trust. We note a number of theoretical mechanisms that could imply that similar objective problems are more likely to be effectively dealt with in higher-trust societies. A set of panel estimates across middle and high-income countries reveal that interest rates and ratings are substantially more sensitive to inflation and growth problems in low-trust countries. This finding sheds light on the differential market reactions to economic problems in seemingly comparable countries.

Keywords: Trust; Credit ratings; Interest rates; Economic reforms; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: A13; G12; (follow links to similar papers)

34 pages, September 3, 2014

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