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Resolving sovereign debt crises: the role of political risk

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  • Christoph Trebesch

Abstract

Sovereign defaults are bad news for investors and debtor countries, in particular if a default becomes messy and protracted. Why are some debt crises resolved quickly, in a matter of months, while others take many years to settle? This paper studies the duration of sovereign debt crises based on a new data set and case study archive on debt renegotiations between governments and foreign banks and bondholders. Using Cox proportional hazard models, I find that domestic political instability (‘political risk’) is a significant predictor of negotiation delays, after controlling for macroeconomic conditions. Government crises, resignations, and street protests are particularly disruptive for a quick settlement process. Overall, the evidence suggests that debtor countries often lack the political ability to resolve a debt crisis. Governments in turmoil are unlikely to exit a default quickly.

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  • Christoph Trebesch, 2019. "Resolving sovereign debt crises: the role of political risk," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 421-444.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:71:y:2019:i:2:p:421-444.
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    2. Elard, Ilaf, 2020. "Three-player sovereign debt negotiations," International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 217-240.
    3. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2022. "From Health Crisis to Financial Distress," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 70(1), pages 4-31, March.
    4. Mitchener, Kris James & Trebesch, Christoph, 2021. "Sovereign Debt in the 21st Century: Looking Backward, Looking Forward," CEPR Discussion Papers 15935, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Reinhart,Carmen M., 2021. "From Health Crisis to Financial Distress," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9616, The World Bank.
    6. M. Ayhan Kose & Peter S. O. Nagle & Franziska Ohnsorge & Naotaka Sugawara, 2020. "Can This Time Be Different? Policy Options in Times of Rising Debt," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2008, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    7. Li Donni, Paolo & Marino, Maria & Welzel, Christian, 2021. "How important is culture to understand political protest?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    8. Tamon Asonuma & Hyungseok Joo, 2021. "Public Capital and Fiscal Constraint in Sovereign Debt Crises," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0621, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    9. Chuku Chuku & Alexandre Kopoin, 2022. "Working Paper 367 - Debt Distress and Recovery Episodes in Africa: Good Policy or Good Luck?," Working Paper Series 2493, African Development Bank.
    10. Sayantan Ghosal & Marcus Miller, 2019. "Introduction to the special issue on sovereign debt restructuring," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 309-319.
    11. Calomiris, Charles W. & Tsoulouhas, Theofanis, 2022. "Bailing out conflicted sovereigns," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 51(C).
    12. Sonenshine, Ralph & Kumari, Sapna, 2022. "The differential impact of political risk factors on emerging market bond spreads and credit rating outlooks," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    13. Vladimir V. Zemskov & Valeriy I. Prasolov & Nikolai G. Sinyavsky & Oksana V. Konovalova & Lyudmila Kh. Botasheva, 2020. "Risks of private and sovereign debt as factors affecting the economic security of the state," RIVISTA DI STUDI SULLA SOSTENIBILITA', FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(2 suppl.), pages 235-249.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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