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Slow Moving Debt Crises

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  • Guido Lorenzoni
  • Ivan Werning

Abstract

What circumstances or policies leave sovereign borrowers at the mercy of self-fulfilling increases in interest rates? To answer this question, we study the dynamics of debt and interest rates in a model where default is driven by insolvency. Fiscal deficits and surpluses are subject to shocks but influenced by a fiscal policy rule. Whenever possible the government issues debt to meet its current obligations and defaults otherwise. We show that low and high interest rate equilibria may coexist. Higher interest rates, prompted by fears of default, lead to faster debt accumulation, validating default fears. We call such an equilibrium a slow moving crisis, in contrast to rollover crises where investor runs precipitate immediate default. We investigate how the existence of multiple equilibria is affected by the fiscal policy rule, the maturity of debt, and the level of debt.
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  • Guido Lorenzoni & Ivan Werning, 2014. "Slow Moving Debt Crises," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000939, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000939
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frankel, David M. & Morris, Stephen & Pauzner, Ady, 2003. "Equilibrium selection in global games with strategic complementarities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-44, January.
    2. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    3. Chamon, Marcos, 2007. "Can debt crises be self-fulfilling?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 234-244, January.
    4. Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo, 2009. "Long-duration bonds and sovereign defaults," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 117-125, September.
    5. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-661, September.
    6. Juan Carlos Conesa & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2017. "Gambling for redemption and self-fulfilling debt crises," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 64(4), pages 707-740, December.
    7. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
    8. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
    9. Henning Bohn, 2005. "The Sustainability of Fiscal Policy in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 1446, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1996. "A self-fulfilling model of Mexico's 1994-95 debt crisis," Staff Report 210, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

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