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Default Risk and Economic Activity: A Small Open Economy Model with Sovereign Debt and Default


  • Jessica Roldán-Peña


Empirical evidence shows that sovereign defaults are associated with significant downturns in economic activity in defaulting countries. However, the existing literature on sovereign debt and default mainly analyzes endowment economies and, therefore, does not address the relationship between default risk and macroeconomic dynamics. This paper develops a general equilibrium small open economy model with financial frictions that allows to simultaneously examine the behavior of output, investment and borrowing dynamics and its interaction with sovereign default. When calibrated to match the business cycles properties of an average emerging market economy, the model is able to reproduce the countercyclicality of net exports and sovereign spreads and the negative correlation between investment and net exports observed in the data. Furthermore, when analyzing its behavior around sovereign default, the model successfully captures the declines in output, consumption and investment that are actually associated with these episodes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica Roldán-Peña, 2012. "Default Risk and Economic Activity: A Small Open Economy Model with Sovereign Debt and Default," Working Papers 2012-16, Banco de México.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdm:wpaper:2012-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yue, Vivian Z., 2010. "Sovereign default and debt renegotiation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 176-187, March.
    2. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2006. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 64-83, June.
    3. Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo, 2009. "Long-duration bonds and sovereign defaults," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 117-125, September.
    4. Cuadra, Gabriel & Sapriza, Horacio, 2008. "Sovereign default, interest rates and political uncertainty in emerging markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 78-88, September.
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    6. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do Countries Default in "Bad Times" ?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 352-360, 04-05.
    7. Yeyati, Eduardo Levy & Panizza, Ugo, 2011. "The elusive costs of sovereign defaults," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 95-105, January.
    8. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Horacio Sapriza, 2010. "Quantitative properties of sovereign default models: solution methods," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 919-933, October.
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    14. Patrick J. Kehoe & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "International Business Cycles with Endogenous Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 907-928, May.
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    More about this item


    Sovereign debt; sovereign default; business cycles; small open economy.;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

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