This seminar is part of the "Europe and the Global Economy" series.
How do geopolitical forces influence international capital markets? In particular, do market actors condition their responses to crisis lending initiatives on the political incentives of major lenders? In this paper, Randall Stone and co-writers Terrence Chapman, Songying Fang and Xin Li analyze a formal model which demonstrates that the effect of crisis lending announcements on international investment flows is conditional on how market actors interpret the political and economic motivations behind lending decisions on the part of the lender and borrower. If investors believe the decision to accept crisis lending is a sign of economic weakness and lending decisions are influenced by the political interests of the major donor countries, then crisis lending may not reduce borrowing costs or quell fears of international investors. On the other hand, if market actors believe that crisis lending programs, and attendant austerity conditions, will significantly reduce the risk of a financial crisis, they may respond with increased private investment, creating a "catalytic effect." In this model, the political biases of key lending countries can affect the inferences market actors draw, because some sovereign lenders have strategic interests in ensuring that certain borrowing countries do not collapse under the strain of economic crisis. Although this theory applies to multiple types of crisis lending, it helps explain discrepant empirical findings about market reactions to IMF programs. The implications of their theory is tested by examining how sovereign bond yields are affected by IMF program announcements, loan size, the scope of conditions attached to loans, and measures of the geopolitical interests of the United States, a key IMF principal.
Randall Stone (Ph.D. 1993, Harvard) is Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. His research is in international political economy and combines formal theory, quantitative methods, and qualitative fieldwork. He is the author of Controlling Institutions: International Organizations and the Global Economy (Cambridge University Press 2011), Lending Credibility: The International Monetary Fund and the Post-Communist Transition (Princeton University Press, 2002) and Satellites and Commissars: Strategy and Conflict in the Politics of Soviet-Bloc Trade (Princeton University Press, 1996), as well as articles in the American Political Science Review, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Review of International Organizations, and Global Environmental Politics. He has been awarded grants by the NSF, SSRC, NCEEER, and IREX, was the last recipient of the Soviet Peace Prize (1991), and has been a Senior Fulbright Scholar visiting the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. He speaks German and Russian fluently and Polish moderately well, and reads all Slavic languages.