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On the benefits of GDP-indexed government debt: lessons from a model of sovereign defaults

  • Juan Carlos Hatchondo
  • Leonardo Martinez

Whether governments should issue GDP-indexed sovereign debt continues to be the subject of policy debates. This article contributes to this debate by studying the effects of issuing GDP-indexed sovereign debt contracts using the equilibrium default model studied by Aguiar and Gopinath (2006) and Arellano (2008). We consider an extension with perfect indexation, i.e., the government issues Arrow-Debreu securities with payoffs that depend on the next-period aggregate income realization. The ex-ante welfare gain from the introduction of income-indexed bonds is equivalent to a permanent increase in consumption of 0.5 percent. Introducing income-indexed bonds results in welfare gains because it 1) eliminates defaults, 2) increases the average level of debt, and 3) reduces the volatility of consumption.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its journal Economic Quarterly.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): 2Q ()
Pages: 139-157

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedreq:y:2012:i:2q:p:139-157:n:v.98no.2
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  1. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Végh, 2005. "When It Rains, It Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 11-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do countries default in “bad times”?," Working Paper Series 2007-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Leonardo Martinez & Francisco Roch & Juan Hatchondo, 2015. "Fiscal rules and the sovereign default premium," 2015 Meeting Papers 1262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Financing vs. Forgiving a Debt Overhang," NBER Working Papers 2486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Burcu Eyigungor & Satyajit Chatterjee, 2008. "Maturity, Indebtedness and Default Risk," 2008 Meeting Papers 1001, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Chamon, Marcos & Mauro, Paolo, 2006. "Pricing growth-indexed bonds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3349-3366, December.
  8. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2006. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 64-83, June.
  9. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  10. Talvi, Ernesto & Vegh, Carlos A., 2005. "Tax base variability and procyclical fiscal policy in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 156-190, October.
  11. Leonardo Martinez & Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Cesar Sosa Padilla, 2011. "Debt Dilution and Sovereign Default Risk," IMF Working Papers 11/70, International Monetary Fund.
  12. 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.
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