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Bubbles and Self-enforcing Debt

  • Christian Hellwig
  • Guido Lorenzoni

We characterize equilibria with endogenous debt constraints for a general equilibrium economy with limited commitment in which the only consequence of default is losing the ability to borrow in future periods. First, we show that equilibrium debt limits must satisfy a simple condition that allows agents to exactly roll over existing debt period by period. Second, we provide an equivalence result, whereby the resulting set of equilibrium allocations with self-enforcing private debt is equivalent to the allocations that are sustained with unbacked public debt or rational bubbles. In contrast to the classic result by Bulow and Rogoff (1989a), positive levels of debt are sustainable in our environment because the interest rate is sufficiently low to provide repayment incentives. Copyright 2009 The Econometric Society.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 321307000000000383.

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Date of creation: 18 Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:321307000000000383
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  16. Hanno Lustig, 2001. "The Market Price of Aggregate Risk and the Wealth Distribution," Finance 0111004, EconWPA, revised 16 Nov 2001.
  17. Krueger, Dirk & Uhlig, Harald, 2004. "Competitive Risk Sharing Contracts with One-Sided Commitment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4208, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2005. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Working Papers 11563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. 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.
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  22. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
  23. Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1992. "Sovereign Debt: Forgiving and Forgetting Reconsidered," Discussion Papers 1016, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  24. Herschel I. Grossman & Taejoon Han, 1997. "Sovereign Debt and Consumption Smoothing," NBER Working Papers 5997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Public Debt as Private Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-88, May.
  26. Manuel Amador, 2004. "A Political Model Sovereign Debt Repayment," 2004 Meeting Papers 762, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. Mark L. J. Wright, 2004. "Private capital flows, capital controls, and default risk," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  28. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
  29. Cole, Harold L & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1998. "Models of Sovereign Debt: Partial versus General Reputations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 55-70, February.
  30. Karsten Jeske, 2006. "Private International Debt with Risk of Repudiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 576-593, June.
  31. 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.
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