IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejmac/v9y2017i1p128-64.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Optimal Sovereign Default

Author

Listed:
  • Klaus Adam
  • Michael Grill

Abstract

When is it optimal for a fully committed government to default on its legal repayment obligations? Considering a small open economy with domestic production risk and noncontingent government debt, we show that it is ex ante optimal to occasionally deviate from the legal repayment obligation and to repay debt only partially. This holds true even if default generates significant deadweight costs ex post. A quantitative analysis reveals that default is optimal only in response to persistent disaster-like shocks to domestic output. Applying the framework to the situation in Greece, we find that optimal default policies suggest a considerably larger and more timely default than the one actually implemented in the year 2012.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Adam & Michael Grill, 2017. "Optimal Sovereign Default," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 128-164, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:9:y:2017:i:1:p:128-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20140093
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/mac.20140093
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=EuDWGpmI9494h6cKQFOY0D7_1hfhCJip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=YEUUJ9bqZeIJfXpzP37cdt7qcDbqxq-Q
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=alPAIACKG-uQkon_u24thGKseHJdca3a
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2009. "The Economics and Law of Sovereign Debt and Default," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 651-698, September.
    2. Grossman, Herschel I & Van Huyck, John B, 1988. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1088-1097, December.
    3. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1994. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 617-652, August.
    4. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under sticky prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 198-230, February.
    5. Robert J. Barro & Tao Jin, 2011. "On the Size Distribution of Macroeconomic Disasters," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1567-1589, September.
    6. Francois Gourio, 2012. "Disaster Risk and Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2734-2766, October.
    7. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under imperfect competition," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 183-209, June.
    8. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy with Noncontingent Debt and the Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131.
    9. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2005. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 1-37, January.
    10. Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 823-866.
    11. Zame, William R, 1993. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets Are Incomplete," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1142-1164, December.
    12. Jeronimo Zettelmeyer & Beatrice Weder & Christoph A Klingen, 2004. "How Private Creditors Fared in Emerging Debt Markets, 1970-2000," IMF Working Papers 04/13, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Arellano, Cristina & Heathcote, Jonathan, 2010. "Dollarization and financial integration," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 944-973, May.
    14. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    15. Adam, Klaus, 2011. "Government debt and optimal monetary and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-74, January.
    16. Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Christoph Trebesch & Mitu Gulati, 2013. "The Greek debt restructuring: an autopsy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 28(75), pages 513-563, July.
    17. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
    18. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
    19. Sims, Christopher A, 2001. "Fiscal Consequences for Mexico of Adopting the Dollar," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 597-616, May.
    20. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-661, September.
    21. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
    22. Buera, Francisco & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 2004. "Optimal maturity of government debt without state contingent bonds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 531-554, April.
    23. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
    24. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 519-539, August.
    25. Manuel S. Santos, 2000. "Accuracy of Numerical Solutions using the Euler Equation Residuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1377-1402, November.
    26. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
    27. Juan J. Cruces & Christoph Trebesch, 2013. "Sovereign Defaults: The Price of Haircuts," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 85-117, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Niemann & Paul Pichler, 2017. "Collateral, Liquidity and Debt Sustainability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2093-2126, September.
    2. repec:eee:moneco:v:99:y:2018:i:c:p:88-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Thomas McGregor, 2017. "Pricing sovereign debt in resource rich economies," OxCarre Working Papers 194, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Trebesch, Christoph & Zabel, Michael, 2017. "The output costs of hard and soft sovereign default," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 416-432.
    5. Sosa-Padilla, César, 2018. "Sovereign defaults and banking crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 88-105.
    6. Rieth, Malte, 2014. "Myopic governments and welfare-enhancing debt limits," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 250-265.
    7. Fabrice Collard & Michel Habib & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2015. "Sovereign Debt Sustainability In Advanced Economies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 381-420, June.
    8. Michael Kumhof & Romain Ranciere & Pablo Winant, 2013. "Inequality, Leverage and Crises; The Case of Endogenous Default," IMF Working Papers 13/249, International Monetary Fund.
    9. repec:eee:jimfin:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:82-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:dyncon:v:85:y:2017:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:9:y:2017:i:1:p:128-64. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.