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International Bailouts: Why Did Banks' Collective Bet Lead Europe to Rescue Greece?

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  • E. Mengus

Abstract

In this paper, I use a two-country model to investigate the incentives which lead one country to take charge of another country's debt. I show that, when direct transfers to residents cannot be perfectly targeted, the first country can be better o_ honoring the second country's liabilities, even if this means paying o_ foreign creditors. Anticipating the ex post rescue, private agents engage in a collective bet on the foreign country's debt, leading to the emergence of a self-fulfilling implicit guarantees in equilibrium. In response to the resulting inefficient outcome, the optimal policy for the rescuing country's government is to restrict domestic exposures to foreign debt ex ante, for example, through a tax on capital outflows. Finally, I argue that these findings can shed light on the European sovereign debt crisis, the interventions of the IMF, the 1790 US federal bailout of states and on the 2008 US financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Mengus, 2014. "International Bailouts: Why Did Banks' Collective Bet Lead Europe to Rescue Greece?," Working papers 502, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:502
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tirole, Jean, 2012. "Country Solidarity, Private Sector Involvement and the Contagion of Sovereign Crises," IDEI Working Papers 761, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Sep 2012.
    2. Farhi, Emmanuel & Tirole, Jean, 2015. "Deadly Embrace: Sovereign and Financial Balance Sheets Doom Loops," CEPR Discussion Papers 11024, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Ignacio Lopez, Jose & Mengus, Eric & Challe, Edouard, 2016. "Southern Europe's Institutional Decline," Les Cahiers de Recherche 1148, HEC Paris.
    4. Jean Tirole, 2015. "Country Solidarity in Sovereign Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2333-2363, August.
    5. Mengus, E., 2014. "Honoring Sovereign Debt or Bailing Out Domestic Residents: A Theory of Internal Costs of Default," Working papers 480, Banque de France.
    6. Zuccardi Huertas Igor Esteban, 2015. "Sovereign Spreads in the Eurozone: Is Market Discipline Working?," Working Papers 2015-20, Banco de México.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Implicit guarantees; bailouts; capital flows; capital controls.;

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • F65 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Finance

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