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Bargaining and Sustainability: The Argentine Debt Swap of 2005


  • Dhillon, Amrita
  • García-Fronti, Javier
  • Ghosal, Sayantan
  • Miller, Marcus


When Argentine sovereign default in December 2001 led to a collapse of the peso, the burden of dollar debt became demonstrably unsustainable. But it was not clear what restructuring was feasible, nor when. Eventually, in 2005 after a delay of more than three years, a supermajority of creditors accepted a swap implying a recovery rate of around 37 cents in the dollar. In this paper a bargaining approach is used to explain both the settlement and the delay. We conclude that the agreed swap broadly corresponds to a bargaining outcome where the Argentine government had 'first mover' advantage, and that a substantial delay occurred as negotiators seeking a sustainable settlement waited for economic recovery. Factors not explicit in the formal framework are also considered - heterogeneity of creditors, for example, and the role of third parties in promoting 'good faith' bargaining.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhillon, Amrita & García-Fronti, Javier & Ghosal, Sayantan & Miller, Marcus, 2005. "Bargaining and Sustainability: The Argentine Debt Swap of 2005," CEPR Discussion Papers 5236, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5236

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Mario Damill, 2005. "The Argentinean Debt: History, Default and Restructuring," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 6(3), pages 29-90.
    3. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-178, February.
    4. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, March.
    5. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Detragiache, Enrica, 1994. " The Role of Multilateral Institutions in the Market for Sovereign Debt," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 515-529.
    6. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability: Argentina's Lessons," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1909, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Sturzenegger, Federico & Zettelmeyer, Jeromin, 2008. "Haircuts: Estimating investor losses in sovereign debt restructurings, 1998-2005," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 780-805, September.
    8. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Inflation Targeting and Debt: Lessons from Brazil," CEPR Discussion Papers 4376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dania Thomas & Javier García-Fronti, 2007. "Good faith in sovereign debt restructuring: the evolution of an open norm in ‘localised’ contexts?," WEF Working Papers 0017, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
    2. Engelen, Christian & Graf Lambsdorff, Johann, 2007. "Fairness in sovereign debt restructuring," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-50-07, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.

    More about this item


    bargaining; debt restructuring; efficiency delay; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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