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Sovereign defaults and liquidity crises

  • Brutti, Filippo

Sovereign debt crises in emerging markets are usually associated with liquidity and banking crises. The conventional view is that the domestic turmoil is the consequence of foreign retaliation, although there is no clear empirical evidence on "classic" default penalties. This paper emphasizes, instead, a direct link between sovereign defaults and liquidity crises building on two natural assumptions: (i) government bonds represent a source of liquidity for the domestic private sector and (ii) the government cannot discriminate between domestic and foreign creditors in the event of default. In this context, external debt emerges even in the absence of classic penalties, and government default is countercyclical, triggers a liquidity crunch, and amplifies output volatility. In addition, a reform that involves a substitution of government bonds with privately-sourced liquidity instruments could backfire by restricting governments' access to foreign credit.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 84 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 65-72

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:84:y:2011:i:1:p:65-72
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