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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. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Cesar Sosa-Padilla, 2014. "Debt Dilution and Sovereign Default Risk," Department of Economics Working Papers 2014-06, McMaster University.
  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. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Francisco Roch & Leonardo Martinez, 2012. "Fiscal Rules and the Sovereign Default Premium," IMF Working Papers 12/30, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2009. "Maturity, Indebtedness, and Default Risk," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 0901, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  5. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  6. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Paolo Mauro & Marcos d Chamon, 2005. "Pricing Growth-Indexed Bonds," IMF Working Papers 05/216, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  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. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  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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