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Sovereign default and macroeconomic tipping points

  • Joy, Mark

    (Central Bank of Ireland)

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This paper examines the impact of macroeconomic fundamentals on the probability of sovereign default and the probability of exit from default while allowing explicitly for model uncertainty. Model uncertainty is addressed by employing Bayesian model-averaging techniques, averaging over a very large number of different empirical models that each endeavour to explain entry to and exit from periods of sovereign default for defaulting countries over the period 1975 to 2010. Default probabilities are estimated and then used to price sovereign bond spreads. Key findings are: (i) large budget deficits and high interest payments on external debt represent key macroeconomic tipping points for sovereign default; (ii) for exiting periods of default, reducing public debt matters most. These results are robust to both narrow and wide definitions of sovereign default and, due to use of model-averaging techniques, robust to model uncertainty.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Ireland in its series Research Technical Papers with number 10/RT/12.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:10/rt/12
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  1. Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2009. "The Economics and Law of Sovereign Debt and Default," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 651-98, September.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "Serial Default and the "Paradox" of Rich-to-Poor Capital Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 53-58, May.
  3. Enrica Detragiache, 1996. "Rational Liquidity Crises in the Sovereign Debt Market: In Search of a Theory," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(3), pages 545-570, September.
  4. Grossman, Herschel I & Van Huyck, John B, 1988. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1088-97, December.
  5. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Francisco Roch, 2015. "Fiscal rules and the Sovereign Default Premium," Caepr Working Papers 2015-010 Classification-F, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  6. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity: Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Juan J. Cruces & Christoph Trebesch, 2013. "Sovereign Defaults: The Price of Haircuts," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 85-117, July.
  8. 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.
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  11. Jens Hilscher & Yves Nosbusch, 2010. "Determinants of Sovereign Risk: Macroeconomic Fundamentals and the Pricing of Sovereign Debt," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(2), pages 235-262.
  12. Reinhart, Carmen, 2002. "Default, currency crises, and sovereign credit ratings," MPRA Paper 13917, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  16. Manasse, Paolo & Roubini, Nouriel, 2009. ""Rules of thumb" for sovereign debt crises," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 192-205, July.
  17. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Econometrics 0110002, EconWPA.
  18. 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.
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  22. Gabriel Cuadra & Horacio Sapriza, 2006. "Sovereign Default, Interest Rates and Political Uncertainty in Emerging Markets," Working Papers 2006-02, Banco de México.
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