© The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav During the euro crisis policy-makers tried to re-establish credibility with austere budgets. Studies of austerity have been plagued by measurement and endogeneity problems. We provide a direct test of the effect of austerity on confidence by calculating the immediate impact of austere budgets on government bonds. We build a unique database of budget dates and conduct event studies of 223 (future) Eurozone budgets. Since austere budgets are enacted in particular circumstances, we use a treatment effects design to measure markets’ responses. Our findings are discouraging for the argument that austerity can provide a positive credibility shock. Markets do not welcome austerity. On the contrary, austere budgets are associated with substantial interest rate increases. These results underline how constrained governments are in debt crises.