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In for a Penny, In for a 100 Billion Pounds: Quantifying the Welfare Benefits from Debt Relief

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  • Mark Wright

    (UCLA)

  • Christine Richmond

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Daniel Dias

    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and CEMAPRE)

Abstract

Since 1989, creditor countries have provided debt relief to developing countries worth more than 100 billion US dollars. Prominent lobby groups are campaigning for a further 400 billion US dollars in debt relief to be provided in the near future. How much could developing country’s gain from debt relief? How costly is it to provide debt relief? Would debt relief increase social welfare? And if so, to which countries should it be most urgently directed? In this paper, we develop a framework for measuring the marginal welfare gain from debt relief and indicate when this marginal measure can be used to estimate the total welfare benefit of debt relief. We then apply this framework to data on the debts of 72 developing countries to form an estimate of the global social welfare benefits of debt forgiveness.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 646.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:646

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  1. Easterly, William, 2002. "How Did Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Become Heavily Indebted? Reviewing Two Decades of Debt Relief," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(10), pages 1677-1696, October.
  2. Serkan Arslanalp & Peter Blair Henry, 2005. "Is Debt Relief Efficient?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 1017-1051, 04.
  3. Chauvin, Nicolas Depetris & Kraay, Aart, 2006. "Who gets debt relief ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4000, The World Bank.
  4. Harberger, Arnold C, 1971. "Three Basic Postulates for Applied Welfare Economics: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 785-97, September.
  5. Sturzenegger, Federico & Zettelmeyer, Jeromin, 2008. "Haircuts: Estimating investor losses in sovereign debt restructurings, 1998-2005," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 780-805, September.
  6. Christina Daseking & Robert Powell, 1999. "From toronto Terms to the HIPC Initiative," IMF Working Papers 99/142, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Altman, Edward I, 1989. " Measuring Corporate Bond Mortality and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(4), pages 909-22, September.
  8. Nicolas Depetris Chauvin & Aart Kraay, 2005. "What Has 100 Billion Dollars Worth of Debt Relief Done for Low- Income Countries?," International Finance 0510001, EconWPA.
  9. Dias, Daniel A. & Richmond, Christine & Wright, Mark L. J., 2014. "The Stock of External Sovereign Debt: Can We Take the Data at ‘Face Value’?," Working Paper Series WP-2014-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Christoph Trebesch & Mitu Gulati, 2013. "The Greek Debt Restructuring: An Autopsy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4333, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Daniel A. Dias & Christine J. Richmond & Mark L.J. Wright, 2011. "The Stock of External Sovereign Debt: Can We Take the Data At ‘Face Value’?," NBER Working Papers 17551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2013. "Empirical Research on Sovereign Debt and Default," CAMA Working Papers 2013-16, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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