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Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark: Relationship banking and conditionality lending in the London market for government debt, 1815-1913

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  • Flandreau, Marc
  • Flores Zendejas, Juan Huitzilihuitl

Abstract

This paper offers a theory of conditionality lending in 19th-century international capital markets. We argue that ownership of reputation signals by prestigious banks rendered them able and willing to monitor government borrowing. Monitoring was a source of rent, and it led bankers to support countries facing liquidity crises in a manner similar to modern descriptions of “relationship” lending to corporate clients by “parent” banks. Prestigious bankers’ ability to implement conditionality loans and monitor countries’ financial policies also enabled them to deal with solvency. We find that, compared with prestigious bankers, bondholders’ committees had neither the tools nor the prestige required for effectively dealing with defaulters. Hence such committees were far less important than previous research has claimed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7915.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7915

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Related research

Keywords: bondholder committees; conditionality; debt crises; prestige; relationship banking;

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References

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  1. MARCELO de PAIVA ABREU, 2006. "Brazil as a debtor, 1824-1931 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(4), pages 765-787, November.
  2. Flandreau, Marc, 2003. "Crises and Punishment: Moral Hazard and the Pre-1914 International Financial Architecture," CEPR Discussion Papers 3742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Erik Lehmann & Neuberger, Doris, 2000. "Do Lending Relationships Matter? Evidence from Bank Survey Data in Germany," CoFE Discussion Paper 00-04, Center of Finance and Econometrics, University of Konstanz.
  4. Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan, 1997. "Can Relationship Banking Survive Competition?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Sharpe, Steven A, 1990. " Asymmetric Information, Bank Lending, and Implicit Contracts: A Stylized Model of Customer Relationships," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1069-87, September.
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  7. Olivier Accominotti & Marc Flandreau & Riad Rezzik, 2011. "The spread of empire: Clio and the measurement of colonial borrowing costs," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 385-407, 05.
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  11. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do Countries Default In "Bad Times"?," CAMA Working Papers 2007-23, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  12. Flandreau, Marc & Flores Zendejas, Juan Huitzilihuitl & Gaillard, Norbert & Nieto-Parra, Sebastián, 2009. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815-2007," CEPR Discussion Papers 7347, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Mauro, Paolo & Sussman, Nathan & Yafeh, Yishay, 2007. "Emerging Markets and Financial Globalization: Sovereign Bond Spreads in 1870-1913 and Today," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199226139, October.
  14. English, William B, 1996. "Understanding the Costs of Sovereign Default: American State Debts in the 1840's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 259-75, March.
  15. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-78, February.
  16. Boot, Arnoud W. A., 2000. "Relationship Banking: What Do We Know?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 7-25, January.
  17. Rui Pedro Esteves, 2007. "Quis custodiet quem? Sovereign Debt and Bondholders` Protection Before 1914," Economics Series Working Papers 323, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  18. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Scholarly Articles 12491028, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Namsuk Kim & John Joseph Wallis, 2003. "The Market for American State Government Bonds in Britain and the United States, 1830-1843," NBER Working Papers 10108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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