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The Politics of Selective Default: The Foreign Debts of the Confederate States of America

  • Marc D. Weidenmier

    (Claremont McKenna College and NBER)

The Confederate States of America floated two small bond issues in Europe during the American Civil War; cotton bonds that traded primarily in England and junk bonds in Amsterdam. The Confederacy serviced the cotton bonds for the duration of the war and defaulted on the junk bond issue. Evidently the South believed that the cotton bonds provided a financial incentive for England to intervene or give military support. This policy of selective default suggests that reputation spillovers across markets may be smaller than indicated in theoretical models of debt repayment (Cole and Kehoe, 1994).

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File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2000-13.pdf
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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2000-13.

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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2000-13
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  1. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I & Han, Taejoon, 1996. "War Debt, Moral Hazard, and the Financing of the Confederacy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 200-215, May.
  3. Garber, Peter M., 1991. "Alexander Hamilton's market-based debt reduction plan," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 79-104, January.
  4. Marc D. Weidenmier, . "The Market for Confederate Cotton Bonds," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-12, Claremont Colleges.
  5. English, William B, 1996. "Understanding the Costs of Sovereign Default: American State Debts in the 1840's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 259-75, March.
  6. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Scholarly Articles 12491028, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Brown, William O. & Burdekin, Richard C. K., 2000. "Turning Points in the U.S. Civil War: A British Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 216-231, March.
  8. Weidenmier, Marc D., 2000. "The Market for Confederate Cotton Bonds," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 76-97, January.
  9. Richard C.K. Burdekin & Marc D. Weidenmier, . "The Option Value of Confederate Currency and Inflation Control, 1861-1865," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-29, Claremont Colleges.
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