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Domestic versus External Borrowing and Fiscal Policy in Emerging Markets


  • Garima Vasishtha


Domestic public debt issued by emerging markets has risen significantly relative to international debt in recent years. Some recent empirical evidence also suggests that sovereigns have defaulted differentially on debt held by domestic and external creditors. Standard models of sovereign debt, however, mainly focus on how the actions of foreign creditors influence default decisions of sovereigns. Contrasting this one-sided focus, this paper adds to a new theoretical literature that points at the possibility of default on domestic debt and the consequences of doing so. It presents a model of an emerging market economy in which the government can selectively default on its domestic or external debt obligations. The model shows that the differential ability of domestic and foreign creditors to punish the government creates a gap in the expected default costs to the sovereign, and hence a differential in its propensity to default on its domestic versus foreign debt. The extent to which the possibility of differential treatment of creditors affects the composition of debt is explored. It shows that a country characterized by volatile output, sovereign risk, and costly tax collection will want to borrow in domestic markets as well as in international capital markets. The optimal allocation of debt between domestic and foreign creditors can thus be viewed as the government's purchase of insurance against macroeconomic shocks that affect its budget.

Suggested Citation

  • Garima Vasishtha, 2007. "Domestic versus External Borrowing and Fiscal Policy in Emerging Markets," Staff Working Papers 07-33, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:07-33

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2016. "Distributional Incentives In An Equilibrium Model Of Domestic Sovereign Default," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 7-44, February.
    2. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2013. "Political, Institutional, and Economic Factors Underlying Deficit Volatility," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 719-732, September.
    3. Paczos, Wojtek; Shakhnov, Kirill, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Issuance and Selective Default," Economics Working Papers ECO2016/04, European University Institute.
    4. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2493 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Debt management; International topics;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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