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Sovereign Debt in the 21st Century: Looking Backward, Looking Forward

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  • Mitchener, Kris James
  • Trebesch, Christoph

Abstract

How will sovereign debt markets evolve in the 21st century? We survey how the literature has responded to the eurozone debt crisis, placing "lessons learned" in historical perspective. The crisis featured: (i) the return of debt problems to advanced economies; (ii) a bank-sovereign "doom-loop" and the propagation of sovereign risk to households and firms; (iii) roll-over problems and self-fulfilling crisis dynamics; (iv) severe debt distress without outright sovereign defaults; (v) large-scale "sovereign bailouts" from abroad; and (vi) creditor threats to litigate and hold out in a debt restructuring. Many of these characteristics were already present in historical debt crises and are likely to remain relevant in the future. Looking forward, our survey points to a growing role of sovereign-bank linkages, legal risks, domestic debt and default, and of official creditors, due to new lenders such as China as well as the increasing dominance of central banks in global debt markets. Questions of debt sustainability and default will remain acute in both developing and advanced economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitchener, Kris James & Trebesch, Christoph, 2021. "Sovereign Debt in the 21st Century: Looking Backward, Looking Forward," CEPR Discussion Papers 15935, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15935
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    Cited by:

    1. Josefin Meyer & Carmen M Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2022. "Sovereign Bonds Since Waterloo," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 137(3), pages 1615-1680.
    2. Mr. Leonardo Martinez & Mr. Francisco Roch & Francisco Roldán & Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2022. "Sovereign Debt," IMF Working Papers 2022/122, International Monetary Fund.
      • Leonardo Martinez & Francisco Roch & Francisco Roldan & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2022. "Sovereign Debt," Working Papers 167, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
    3. Dim, Chukwuma & Koerner, Kevin & Wolski, Marcin & Zwart, Sanne, 2022. "Hot off the press: News-implied sovereign default risk," EIB Working Papers 2022/06, European Investment Bank (EIB).
    4. Paolo Manasse & Ugo Panizza & Matilde Faralli & Mr. Francesco Caselli, 2021. "On the Benefits of Repaying," IMF Working Papers 2021/233, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Panizza, Ugo, 2022. "Do Countries Default in Bad Times? The Role of Alternative Detrending Techniques," CEPR Discussion Papers 17216, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Silvia Marchesi & Tania Masi & Pietro Bomprezzi, 2021. "Is to Forgive to Forget? Sovereign Risk in the Aftermath of a Default," Development Working Papers 475, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    7. Anna Gelpern & Ugo Panizza, 2022. "Enough Potential Repudiation: Economic and Legal Aspects of Sovereign Debt in the Pandemic Era," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 545-570, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bailouts; bank-sovereign doom loops; Eurozone Debt Crisis; official creditors; self-fulfilling crisis dynamics; Sovereign debt;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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