Financial Vergangenheitsbewältigung: The 1953 London Debt Agreement
AbstractThe 1953 London Debt Agreement settled Germany's debts from the period between the two world wars, and allowed the country to re-establish its role in international capital markets. The Agreement wrote-down the overall debt by about 50 percent and gave the debtors a much longer period to repay. One interesting clause in the Agreement allowed Germany to postpone some payments until such time as re-unification. The Agreement reflects a subtle and responsible understanding of the problems associated with the reparations and debt crises of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as fears about the moral hazard problems that would arise with making any part of the Agreement contingent on events Germany could influence. Recent advocates of third-world debt relief have held up the London Debt Agreement of 1953 as a precedent for debt relief for poor countries today. That argument reflects a misunderstanding of the historical circumstances of the early 1950s, as well as the economic principles reflected in the Agreement.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 880.
Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Germany; London Debt Agreement; sovereign debt; debt overhang; HIPC initiative;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
- F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Serkan Arslanalp & Peter Blair Henry, 2006.
NBER Working Papers
12187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- H. J. Dernburg, 1953. "Some Basic Aspects Of The German Debt Settlement," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 8(3), pages 298-318, 09.
- 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.
- Accominotti, Olivier, 2012. "London Merchant Banks, the Central European Panic, and the Sterling Crisis of 1931," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 1-43, March.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Louise Danishevsky).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.