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Dealing with Debt: The 1930s and the 1980s

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  • Eichengreen, Barry
  • Portes, Richard

Abstract

This paper summarizes and extends the conclusions of a series of papers on the interwar experience of sovereign borrowing, default and debt readjustment. In explaining the incidence and extent of default, we highlight the importance of a range of factors, both economic and political. We find evidence that countries that interrupted debt service recovered more quickly from the Depression; were able subsequently to render substantially reduced transfers to their creditors; and did not experience access to capital markets in the 1940s and 1950s that was any more restricted than that available to debtors who fully serviced their debts throughout. Attempts at global schemes to short cut protracted bilateral negotiations foundered on disagreements over the funding and control of such schemes, casting doubt on the prospects for such global plans in the 1990s.
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Suggested Citation

  • Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1989. "Dealing with Debt: The 1930s and the 1980s," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7666n7r4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt7666n7r4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
    2. Sule Ozler, 1988. "Evolution of Commerical Bank Lending to Developing Countries," UCLA Economics Working Papers 497, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Barry Eichengreen and Richard Portes., 1988. "Settling Defaults in the Era of Bond Finance," Economics Working Papers 8885, University of California at Berkeley.
    4. Stanley Fischer, 1987. "Resolving the International Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 2373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1986. "The Anatomy of Financial Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo, 2017. "An Historical Perspective on the Quest for Financial Stability and the Monetary Policy Regime," NBER Working Papers 24154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Marc Flandreau & Juan H. Flores & Norbert Gaillard & Sebastián Nieto-Parra, 2010. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815-2007," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2009, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Trebesch, Christoph, 2014. "A Distant Mirror of Debt, Default, and Relief," CEPR Discussion Papers 10195, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Relief And Its Aftermath," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 215-251, February.
    5. Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "The Economic And Ethical Ambiguities Of African Debt Forgiveness," Economics Research Institute, ERI Study Papers 28345, Utah State University, Economics Department.
    6. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "The role of the IMF in recent sovereign debt restructurings: Implications for the policy of lending into arrears," Occasional Papers 0805, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    7. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "Recent episodes of sovereign debt restructurings. A case-study approach," Occasional Papers 0804, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    8. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz & de Hinestrosa, Patricia Armendariz, 1995. "Debt relief, growth and price stability in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 135-149, October.

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    Keywords

    debt; default; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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