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Empire, Public Goods, and the Roosevelt Corollary

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  • Kris James Mitchener
  • Marc D. Weidenmier

Abstract

The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine marked a turning point in American foreign policy. In 1904, President Roosevelt announced that, not only were European powers not welcome in the Americas, but that the U.S. had the right to intervene in the affairs of Central American and Caribbean countries that were unstable and did not pay their debts. We use this change in U.S. policy to test Kindleberger's hypothesis that a hegemon can provide public goods such as increased financial stability and peace. Using a newly assembled database of weekly sovereign debt prices, we find that the average sovereign debt price for countries under the U.S. 'sphere of influence' rose by 74% in the year following the announcement of the policy. With the dramatic rise in bond prices, the threat of European intervention to support bondholder claims in the Western Hemisphere waned, and the U.S. was able to exert its role as regional hegemon. We find some evidence that the Corollary spurred export growth and better fiscal management by reducing conflict in the region, but it appears that debt settlements were driven primarily by gunboat diplomacy and the threat of lost sovereignty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10729.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10729

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  1. Alan M. Taylor, 2003. "Foreign Capital in Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," NBER Working Papers 9580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David H. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "What Moves Stock Prices?," Working papers 487, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Kim Oosterlinck & Loredana Ureche-Rangau & Jacques-Marie Vaslin, 2013. "Waterloo: a Godsend for French Public Finances?," Working Papers 0041, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  2. Niall Ferguson & Moritz Schularick, 2005. "The Empire Effect: Country Risk in the First Age of Globalization, 1880-1913," Economic History 0509002, EconWPA.
  3. NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2008. "Imposed Efficiency of Treaty Port: Japanese Industrialization and Western Imperialist Institutions," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f142, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 07 Dec 2013.
  4. Gerardo della Paolera & Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Sovereign Debt in Latin America, 1820–1913," NBER Working Papers 18363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Christopher J. Coyne & Steve Davies, 2007. "Empire: Public Goods and Bads," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(1), pages 3-45, January.
  7. Schularick, Moritz & Steger, Thomas M., 2008. "The Lucas Paradox and the quality of institutions: then and now," Discussion Papers 2008/3, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  8. Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2005. "Supersanctions and Sovereign Debt Repayment," NBER Working Papers 11472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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