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Dealing with Debt: The 1930's and the 1980's

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  • Eichengreen, B.
  • Portes, R.

Abstract

The debt crisis of the 1930's illustrated the difficulty of global plans for resolving the debt crisis and underscored the importance of market-based debt-reduction schemes. The crisis of the 1980's differed in fundamental ways from that of the 1930's, but the earlier crisis illuminated the current crisis in several ways. The authors conclude that: (a) economic variables alone do not explain the incidence and extent of default; (b) implications of different debt-management strategies for macroeconomic performance remain difficult to isolate; (c) there is little evidence that countries that defaulted in the 1930's suffered reduced access to capital markets after World War II; and (d) the readjustment of defaulted debts entailed a protracted negotiation process. They further conclude that: (e) Government intervention in the 1930's and 1980's differs less in extent than direction in terms of pressure placed on debtors and creditors to maintain service on their debt; (f) global schemes to short-circuit the protracted process of bilateral negotiations proved unavailing; and (g) unlike global plans, market based debt reduction helped to resolve the debt crisis of the 1930's by reducing the overhang and eliminating marginal creditors.

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Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 89-04.

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Date of creation: 1989
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Publication status: Published in I. Husain and I. Diwan (eds.), Dealing With the Debt Crisis, pp. 69-86, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:89-04

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References

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  1. Barry Eichengreen & Richard Portes, 1987. "The Anatomy of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 2126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
  3. Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1988. "Settling Defaults in the Era of Bond Finance," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1x20r17d, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Sule Ozler, 1988. "Evolution of Commerical Bank Lending to Developing Countries," UCLA Economics Working Papers 497, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Stanley Fischer, 1987. "Resolving the International Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 2373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Marc Flandreau, Juan H. Flores, Norbert Gaillard, Sebastián Nieto-Parra, 2009. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815-2007," IHEID Working Papers 04-2009, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  2. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "Recent episodes of sovereign debt restructurings. A case-study approach," Banco de Espa�a Occasional Papers 0804, Banco de Espa�a.
  3. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz & de Hinestrosa, Patricia Armendariz, 1995. "Debt relief, growth and price stability in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 135-149, October.
  4. Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "The Economic And Ethical Ambiguities Of African Debt Forgiveness," Economics Research Institute, ERI Study Papers 28345, Utah State University, Economics Department.
  5. Nunnenkamp, Peter, 1989. "Capital drain, debt relief, and creditworthiness of developing countries," Kiel Working Papers 379, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  6. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "The role of the IMF in recent sovereign debt restructurings: Implications for the policy of lending into arrears," Banco de Espa�a Occasional Papers 0805, Banco de Espa�a.

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