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Debt and Aid, War and Peace: Policy Tradeoffs in Conflict-affected Countries

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  • Menzies, Gordon Douglas

Abstract

A creditor can balance debt recovery and humanitarian goals within an optimal contract framework. The approach ties together two strands of literature that assume either creditor self-interest (Krugman 1988) or benevolence (Addison and Murshed 2003). A reservation utility for the debtor serves as a metric for creditor benevolence. The optimal hyper-incentive contract recognizes that the attainment of health, education, peace and the appeasement of foreign creditors may be conflicting goals. Forgiving debt to motivate paying creditors may therefore have the unintended effect of reducing effort devoted to winning a civil war. For a given reservation utility for the debtor, aid directly targeted towards ending a civil war is a substitute for debt forgiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Menzies, Gordon Douglas, 2006. "Debt and Aid, War and Peace: Policy Tradeoffs in Conflict-affected Countries," Review of Applied Economics, Review of Applied Economics, vol. 2(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:reapec:50148
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/50148
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eaton, Jonathan, 1993. "Sovereign Debt: A Primer," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(2), pages 137-172, May.
    2. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
    4. Tony Addison & S. Mansoob Murshed, 2003. "Debt Relief and Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 40(2), pages 159-176, March.
    5. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    6. Menzies, Gordon Douglas, 2004. "First-best debt relief," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 301-306, March.
    7. Cole, Harold L & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1998. "Models of Sovereign Debt: Partial versus General Reputations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 55-70, February.
    8. Fernandez-Ruiz, Jorge, 1996. "Debt and incentives in a dynamic context," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1-2), pages 139-151, August.
    9. Eaton, Jonathan, 1990. "Debt Relief and the International Enforcement of Loan Contracts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 43-56, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alvarez-Plata, Patricia & Brück, Tilman, 2008. "External Debt in Post-Conflict Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 485-504, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    debt overhang; debt forgiveness; optimal contracts; civil war; exports; Financial Economics; F34; F35;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid

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