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Settling Defaults in the Era of Bond Finance


  • Eichengreen, Barry
  • Portes, Richard


We scrutinize two strands of received wisdom about debt crises: that which draws a strong contrast between the 1930s and 1980s in extent of default and ease of settlement, and that which attributes the difference to greater government involvement today. Rather than a sharp, dichotomous variable, default in the 1930s was often partial and intermittent. Neither was settlement achieved in a way that readily permitted countries to put the debt crisis behind them. And creditor-country governments were often intimately involved in the process of debt negotiation. We consider a number of additional factors influencing the ease of settlement: (i) institutional features of the lending process; (ii) institutional features of the settlement process; (iii) the role of national divisions within the creditor community; (iv) the influence of global commodity- and credit-market conditions over the process of settlement.
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  • Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1988. "Settling Defaults in the Era of Bond Finance," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1x20r17d, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt1x20r17d

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kehoe, Patrick J., 1987. "Coordination of fiscal policies in a world economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 349-376, May.
    2. Wood, Geoffrey E., 1986. "European monetary integration? A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 329-336, November.
    3. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt in a Democracy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 435, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1982. "Dynamics of a Floating Exchange Rate Regime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 728-754, August.
    5. John Kareken & Neil Wallace, 1981. "On the Indeterminacy of Equilibrium Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(2), pages 207-222.
    6. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Common Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 923-942, July.
    7. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "An Exploration in the Theory of Exchange-Rate Regimes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 865-890, October.
    8. Hamada, Koichi, 1976. "A Strategic Analysis of Monetary Interdependence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 677-700, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brian D. Wright & Kenneth M. Kletzer, 2000. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 621-639, June.
    2. Barry Eichengreen & Richard Portes, 1989. "Dealing With Debt: The 1930s and the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 2867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Marc Flandreau, Juan Flores, 2010. "Hamlet Without The Prince of Denmark: Relationship Banking and Conditionality Lending In The London Market For Foreign Government Debt, 1815 - 1913," IHEID Working Papers 08-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    5. Rui Pedro Esteves, 2007. "Quis custodiet quem? Sovereign Debt and Bondholders` Protection Before 1914," Economics Series Working Papers 323, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Jeremy I. Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1988. "Sovereign Debt Restructurings: Panacea or Pangloss?," NBER Working Papers 2637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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