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Is Inflation Default? The Role of Information in Debt Crises

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  • Marco Bassetto
  • Carlo Galli

Abstract

We study the information sensitivity of government debt denominated in domestic versus foreign currency: the former is subject to inflation risk and the latter to default. Default only affects sophisticated bond traders, whereas inflation concerns a larger and less informed group. Within a two-period Bayesian trading game, differential information manifests itself in the secondary market, and we display conditions under which debt prices are more resilient to bad news even in the primary market, where only sophisticated players operate. Our results can explain debt prices across countries following the 2008 financial crisis, and also provide a theory of "original sin."

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Bassetto & Carlo Galli, 2019. "Is Inflation Default? The Role of Information in Debt Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(10), pages 3556-3584, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:109:y:2019:i:10:p:3556-84
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170721
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    Cited by:

    1. Javier Bianchi & Jorge Mondragon, 2018. "Monetary Independence and Rollover Crises," NBER Working Papers 25340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Albagli, Elias & Hellwig, Christian & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2021. "Dispersed Information and Asset Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 15644, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Farboodi, Maryam & Veldkamp, Laura, 2018. "Long Run Growth of Financial Data Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 13278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Teupe, Sebastian, 2020. "Keynes, Inflation, and the Public Debt: "How to Pay for the War" as a Policy Prescription for Financial Repression?," Working Papers 16, German Research Foundation's Priority Programme 1859 "Experience and Expectation. Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour", Humboldt University Berlin.
    5. Maryam Farboodi & Laura Veldkamp, 2018. "Long Run Growth of Financial Data Technology," Working Papers 18-09, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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