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

Listed author(s):
  • 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. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  2. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do Countries Default In "Bad Times"?," CAMA Working Papers 2007-23, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  3. Leonardo Martinez & Cesar Sosa Padilla & Juan Hatchondo, 2012. "Debt dilution and sovereign default risk," 2012 Meeting Papers 974, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  5. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2011. "Maturity, indebtedness, and default risk," Working Papers 11-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Paolo Mauro & Marcos d Chamon, 2005. "Pricing Growth-Indexed Bonds," IMF Working Papers 05/216, .
  8. Guido Sandleris & Horacio Sapriza & Filippo Taddei, 2008. "Indexed Sovereign Debt: An Applied Framework," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 104, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2011.
  9. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. 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.
  12. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Francisco Roch & Leonardo Martinez, 2012. "Fiscal Rules and the Sovereign Default Premium," IMF Working Papers 12/30, .
  13. 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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