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Sovereign Debt Restructurings: Preemptive or Post-Default

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  • Tamon Asonuma
  • Christoph Trebesch

Abstract

Sovereign debt restructurings can be implemented preemptively—prior to a payment default. We code a comprehensive new data set and find that preemptive restructurings (i) are frequent (38% of all deals 1978–2010), (ii) have lower haircuts, (iii) are quicker to negotiate, and (iv) see lower output losses. To rationalize these stylized facts, we build a quantitative sovereign debt model that incorporates preemptive and post-default renegotiations. The model improves the fit with the data and explains the sovereign’s optimal choice: preemptive restructurings occur when default risk is high ex ante, while defaults occur after unexpected bad shocks. Empirical evidence supports these predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Tamon Asonuma & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Restructurings: Preemptive or Post-Default," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 175-214.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:1:p:175-214.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12156
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    1. Tamon Asonuma & Gerardo Peraza & Kristine Vitola & Takahiro Tsuda, 2014. "Sovereign Debt Restructurings in Belize; Achievements and Challenges Ahead," IMF Working Papers 14/132, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
    3. Tamon Asonuma, 2010. "Serial Default and Debt Renegotiation," 2010 Meeting Papers 169, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. David Benjamin & Mark L. J. Wright, 2009. "Recovery Before Redemption: A Theory Of Delays In Sovereign Debt Renegotiations," CAMA Working Papers 2009-15, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    7. Fernández, Raquel & Martin, Alberto, 2014. "The Long and the Short of It: Sovereign Debt Crises and Debt Maturity," CEPR Discussion Papers 10322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Chapter 1," MPRA Paper 17452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Patrick Bolton & Olivier Jeanne, 2007. "Structuring and Restructuring Sovereign Debt: The Role of a Bankruptcy Regime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 901-924, December.
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    11. Rohan Pitchford & Mark L. J. Wright, 2012. "Holdouts in Sovereign Debt Restructuring: A Theory of Negotiation in a Weak Contractual Environment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 812-837.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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