IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do We Need the IMF to Resolve a Crisis? Lessons from Past Episodes of Debt Restructuring


  • Philipp Maier


This study investigate how debt restructurings have evolved over the decades. Debtors and creditors have a long history of engaging an outsider - a "third party", such as the IMF - to organise and facilitate debt restructurings. As we show, the importance of these "third parties" has grown over time. At the same time, the financial environment has evolved rapidly, and financial markets have become more liquid and better able to spread risk in recent decades. In today's economic environment, the financial system of many advanced countries is better isolated from the negative consequences of a lengthy restructuring process. Consequently, from the perspective of creditor countries, the fact that "third parties" can facilitate and shorten the restructuring process has become less valuable. That said, emerging economies still benefit from involving a "third party", as this might help to overcome coordination problems among creditors and signal that the local authorities are effectively dealing with the crisis, which might help to restore confidence. This holds all the more since creditors have better access to litigation nowadays than during earlier episodes of debt restructurings.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Maier, 2007. "Do We Need the IMF to Resolve a Crisis? Lessons from Past Episodes of Debt Restructuring," Staff Working Papers 07-10, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:07-10

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wells, Robin, 1993. "Tolerance of Arrearages: How IMF Loan Policy Can Effect Debt Reduction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 621-633, June.
    2. Michael P. Dooley & Sujata Verma, 2003. "Rescue Packages and Output Losses Following Crises," NBER Chapters,in: Managing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 125-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jonathan P. Thomas, 2004. "Bankruptcy Proceedings for Sovereign State Insolvency," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 265-279, February.
    4. Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Will the Sovereign Debt Market Survive?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 85-90, May.
    5. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    6. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    7. Gregor Irwin & David Vines, 2005. "The efficient resolution of capital account crises: how to avoid moral hazard," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 233-250.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:33078969 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Andy Haldane, Bank of England & Mark Kruger, Bank of Canada, 2002. "The Resolution of International Financial Crises: Private Finance and Public Funds," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2001(Winter), pages 3-13.
    10. Prasanna Gai & Ashley Taylor, 2004. "International Financial Rescues and Debtor-Country Moral Hazard," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 391-420, December.
    11. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2007. "Is Financial Globalization Beneficial?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 259-294, March.
    12. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle J. White, 1997. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 217-251.
    13. Paolo Mauro & Tatiana Didier & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2006. "Vanishing Contagion?," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 06/01, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Barry Eichengreen & Michael D. Bordo, 2003. "Crises now and then: what lessons from the last era of financial globalization?," Chapters,in: Monetary History, Exchange Rates and Financial Markets, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Becker, Torbjorn & Richards, Anthony & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Bond restructuring and moral hazard: are collective action clauses costly?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 127-161, October.
    16. Brealey, R. A. & Kaplanis, E., 2004. "The impact of IMF programs on asset values," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 253-270, March.
    17. Marchesi, Silvia & Thomas, Jonathan P, 1999. "IMF Conditionality as a Screening Device," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 111-125, March.
    18. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Jeronimo Zettelmeyer & Isabel Schnabel, 2002. "Moral Hazard and International Crisis Lending; A Test," IMF Working Papers 02/181, International Monetary Fund.
    19. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Jérôme Sgard, 2004. "IMF in Theory: Sovereign Debts, Judicialisation and Multilateralism," Sciences Po publications 2004-21, Sciences Po.
    21. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1999. "Is Globalization Today Really Different than Globalization a Hunderd Years Ago?," NBER Working Papers 7195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Kenneth M. Kletzer, 2004. "Resolving sovereign debt crises with collective action clauses," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue feb.20.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Financial stability; International topics;

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:07-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.