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Military conquest and sovereign debt: Chile, Peru and the London bond market, 1876–1890

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  • Richard Sicotte

    () (University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA)

  • Catalina Vizcarra

    (University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA)

  • Kirsten Wandschneider

    (Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

Abstract

As a result of the War of the Pacific (1879–1883), Chile conquered Peruvian and Bolivian territories rich in nitrates and guano. We conduct econometric tests for structural breaks in the time series of the government bonds for Chile and Peru between 1876 and 1890 in order to examine the effects of the changes in resource endowments on the investors’ perceptions of the risk premia of Chilean and Peruvian securities. Our results reveal that investors were extremely pessimistic about the prospects of Chilean, and especially Peruvian debt prior to the war. Early Chilean victories that anticipated the transfer of the richly endowed provinces to Chile caused significant increases in the price of Chilean securities. But such was the low regard with which investors viewed the Peruvian government that the fall of Lima caused an increase in the price of Peruvian bonds on the hope that Chile would assume some of the responsibility for them. Endowments, reputations, and the countries’ financial conditions figure prominently as the driving forces behind the investors’ behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Sicotte & Catalina Vizcarra & Kirsten Wandschneider, 2010. "Military conquest and sovereign debt: Chile, Peru and the London bond market, 1876–1890," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 4(3), pages 293-319, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:4:y:2010:i:3:p:293-319
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11698-009-0047-y
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias A. Jopp, 2014. "How did the capital market evaluate Germany’s prospects for winning World War I? Evidence from the Amsterdam market for government bonds," Working Papers 0052, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    2. Flandreau, Marc & Oosterlinck, Kim, 2012. "Was the emergence of the international gold standard expected? Evidence from Indian Government securities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 649-669.
    3. Marc Flandreau & Kim Oosterlinck, 2011. "Was the Emergence of the International Gold Standard Expected? Melodramatic Evidence from Indian Government Securities," Working Papers 0005, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Kim Oosterlinck & Jeremy Simon, 2015. "Financial Repression and Bond Market Efficiency: the Case of Italy during World War II," Working Papers CEB 15-001, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sovereign debt; Natural resources; Nitrates; War of the Pacific;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • N26 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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