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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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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. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1998. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget," Levine's Working Paper Archive 209, David K. Levine.
  2. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-78, February.
  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. William O. Brown, Jr. & Richard C.K. Burdekin, . "Turning Points in the U.S. Civil War: A British Perspective," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-29, Claremont Colleges.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Weidenmier, Marc D., 2000. "The Market for Confederate Cotton Bonds," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 76-97, January.
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