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Are Debt Crises Adequately Defined?

  • Andrea Pescatori
  • Amadou N R Sy

Crises on external sovereign debt are typically defined as defaults. Such a definition adequately captures debt-servicing difficulties in the 1980s, a period of numerous defaults on bank loans. However, defining defaults as debt crises is problematic for the 1990s, when sovereign bond markets emerged. Not only were there very few defaults in the 1990s, but liquidity indicators do not play any role in explaining defaults in this period. In order to overcome the resulting dearth of data on defaults and capture the evolution of debt markets in the 1990s, we define debt crises as events occurring when either a country defaults or its bond spreads are above a critical threshold. We find that, when information from bond markets is included, standard indicators—solvency and liquidity measures, as well as macroeconomic control variables—are significant. IMF Staff Papers (2007) 54, 306–337. doi:10.1057/palgrave.imfsp.9450010

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Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal IMF Staff Papers.

Volume (Year): 54 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 306-337

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Handle: RePEc:pal:imfstp:v:54:y:2007:i:2:p:306-337
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