Journal of International Economics, forthcoming
Abstract: This paper attempts to disentangle the intricate relation linking the world interest rate, country spreads, and emerging-market fundamentals. It does so by using a methodology that combines empirical and theoretical elements. The main findings are: (1) US interest rate shocks explain about 20 percent of movements in aggregate activity in emerging economies. (2) Country spread shocks explain about 12 percent of business cycles in emerging economies. (3) In response to an increase in US interest rates, country spreads first fall and then display a large, delayed overshooting; (4) US-interest-rate shocks affect domestic variables mostly through their effects on country spreads; (5) The feedback from emerging-market fundamentals to country spreads significantly exacerbates business-cycle fluctuations.