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Volatility and Sovereign Default

  • Luisa Lambertini

    ()

    (Boston College)

The history of international lending shows that countries default on external debt when their economies experience a downturn. This paper presents a theoretical model of international lending that is consistent with this evidence. In this model, output is stochastic, international capital markets are incomplete because borrowing can only occur via issuing bonds, and borrowers cannot commit to repay loans. Self-fulfilling and solvency debt crises arise when borrowers experience low output realizations; moreover, when lenders are atomistic, self- fulfilling crises may arise for debt levels that do not cause default when lenders are non-atomistic. Alternative reforms to eliminate liquidity crises are analyzed. An international lender of last resort can eliminate liquidity crises provided it implements full bailouts via purchasing debt at its market price.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 577.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:577
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Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/Email:


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  1. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1993. "Sustainable Plans and Mutual Default," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 175-95, January.
  2. Eaton, Jonathan & Fernandez, Raquel, 1995. "Sovereign debt," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 3, pages 2031-2077 Elsevier.
  3. Marcus Miller & Lei Zhang, 1999. "Sovereign Liquidity Crisis: The Strategic Case for a Payments Standstill," CSGR Working papers series 35/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
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  8. Buiter, Willem H. & Sibert, Anne, 1999. "UDROP: A Small Contribution to the New International Financial Architecture," CEPR Discussion Papers 2138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Sachs, Jeffrey D, 1990. "A Strategy for Efficient Debt Reduction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 19-29, Winter.
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  12. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Cleaning Up Third World Debt without Getting Taken to the Cleaners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 31-42, Winter.
  13. Atkeson, Andrew, 1991. "International Lending with Moral Hazard and Risk of Repudiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1069-89, July.
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  17. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  18. Stanley Fischer, 1999. "On the Need for an International Lender of Last Resort," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 85-104, Fall.
  19. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Rational and Self-fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 72-81, March.
  20. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Market-Based Debt-Reduction Schemes," NBER Working Papers 2587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Buiter, Willem H & Sibert, Anne C, 1999. "UDROP: A Contribution to the New International Financial Architecture," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 227-47, July.
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  23. Kenen, Peter B, 1990. "Organizing Debt Relief: The Need for a New Institution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 7-18, Winter.
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