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Equilibrium Default Cycles

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  • Natalia Kovrijnykh
  • Balázs Szentes

Abstract

This paper analyzes Markov equilibria in a model of strategic lending in which (i) agents cannot commit to long-term contracts, (ii) contracts are incomplete, and (iii) incumbent lenders can coordinate their actions. Default cycles occur endogenously over time along every equilibrium path. After a sequence of bad shocks, the borrower in a competitive market accumulates debt so large that the incumbent lenders exercise monopoly power. Even though the incumbents could maintain this power forever, they find it profitable to let the borrower regain access to the competitive market after a sequence of good shocks. Equilibria are computed numerically, and their attributes are qualitatively consistent with numerous known empirical facts on sovereign lending. In addition, the model predicts that a borrower who accumulates debt overhang will regain access to the competitive credit market only after good shocks. This prediction is shown to be consistent with data on emerging market economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Natalia Kovrijnykh & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "Equilibrium Default Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 403-446.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:115:y:2007:p:403-446
    DOI: 10.1086/519749
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/519749
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William R. Cline, 1995. "International Debt Reexamined," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 46, July.
    2. Gian Luca Clementi & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2006. "A Theory of Financing Constraints and Firm Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 229-265.
    3. Arrau, Patricio, 1990. "How does the debt crisis affect investment and growth? : a neoclassical growth model applied to Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 378, The World Bank.
    4. Edwards, Sebastian, 1984. "LDC Foreign Borrowing and Default Risk: An Empirical Investigation, 1976-80," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 726-734, September.
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