Bond Vigilantes and Inflation
by Andrew K. Rosea and Mark M. Spiegelb
This paper explores the relationship between inflation and the existence of a local, nominal, publicly traded, longmaturity,
domestic currency bond market. Domestic bond markets have an unclear effect on inflation; they present issuing
governments with the opportunity to inflate away their debt obligations, but they also expose bondholders to capital
losses through inflation, creating a potential anti-inflationary force. We ask whether the latter effect is apparent empirically.
We use a panel of data, examining inflation before and after the introduction of a domestic bond market. Inflationtargeting
countries with a bond market experience inflation at least 3 to 4 percentage points lower than those without one.
This effect is economically and statistically significant; it is also insensitive to a variety of estimation strategies. In particular,
we use a wide variety of political and fiscal instrumental variables to account for the potential endogeneity of domestic
bond issuance. Moreover, we do not find a similar effect for indexed or foreign currency bonds.
JEL Code: E52, E58.
Full article (PDF, 37 pages, 544 kb)
a Haas School of Business
b Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco