Abstract

We study the convergence of European bond markets and the anchoring of inflation expectations in the euro area from 1993 to 2008, using high-frequency bond yield data for France, Germany, Italy, and Spain; some smaller euro-area countries; and a control group comprising the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden. We find that Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) led to substantial convergence in euro-area sovereign bond markets in terms of interest rate levels, unconditional daily fluctuations, and conditional responses to major macroeconomic announcements. Our findings also suggest a substantial increase in the anchoring of long-term inflation expectations since EMU, particularly for Italy and Spain. Finally, we present evidence that the elimination of exchange rate risk and the adoption of a common monetary policy were the primary drivers of bond market convergence in the euro area, as opposed to fiscal policy and the loose exchange rate peg of the 1990s.

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