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Optimal external debt and default

  • Guimarães, Bernardo

This paper analyses whether sovereign default episodes can be seen as contingencies of optimal international lending contracts. The model considers a small open economy with capital accumulation and without commitment to repay debt. Taking first order approximations of Bellman equations, I derive analytical expressions for the equilibrium level of debt and the optimal debt contract. In this environment, debt relief generated by reasonable fluctuations in productivity is an order of magnitude below that generated by shocks to world interest rates. Debt relief prescribed by the model following the interest rate hikes of 1980-81 accounts for a substantial part of the debt forgiveness obtained by the main Latin American countries through the Brady agreements.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6035.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6035
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  1. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do countries default in “bad times”?," Working Paper Series 2007-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "Serial Default and the "Paradox" of Rich to Poor Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 10296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Scholarly Articles 12491028, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Albert Marcet & Ramon Marimon, 1992. "Communication, commitment, and growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 74, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Raquel Fernandez & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1990. "Strategic Models of Sovereign-Debt Renegotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 331-349.
  6. 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.
  7. Barro, Robert J & Mankiw, N Gregory & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1995. "Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 103-15, March.
  8. Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1985. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 1673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fernando Broner & Alberto Martín & Jaume Ventura, 2006. "Sovereign Risk and Secondary Markets," Working Papers 288, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  10. Caselli, Francesco & Feyrer, James, 2005. "The Marginal Product of Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 5203, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Andrew Atkeson, 2010. "International lending with moral hazard and risk of repudiation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 200, David K. Levine.
  12. Eduardo Borensztein & Paolo Mauro, 2004. "The case for GDP-indexed bonds," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 165-216, 04.
  13. Natalia Kovrijnykh & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "Equilibrium Default Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 403-446.
  14. Neumeyer, Pablo Andrés & Perri, Fabrizio, 2004. "Business Cycles in Emerging Economies: The Role of Interest Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 4482, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. William R. Zame, 1990. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets are Incomplete," UCLA Economics Working Papers 585, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Financing vs. Forgiving a Debt Overhang," NBER Working Papers 2486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2004. "Serial Default and the “Paradox†of Rich-to-Poor Capital Flows," Scholarly Articles 11129182, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Patrick J. Kehoe & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Competitive equilibria with limited enforcement," Working Papers 621, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  20. Martin Uribe & Vivian Z. Yue, 2004. "Country spreads and emerging countries: who drives whom?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  21. Alfaro, Laura & Kanczuk, Fabio, 2005. "Sovereign debt as a contingent claim: a quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 297-314, March.
  22. Kletzer, K.M. & Newbery, D.M., 1991. "Smoothing Primary Exporters' Price Risks: Bonds, Futures, Options and Insurance," Papers 647, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  23. Yue, Vivian Z., 2010. "Sovereign default and debt renegotiation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 176-187, March.
  24. Reinhart, Carmen, 2004. "Debt intolerance: Executive summary," MPRA Paper 13398, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  25. 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.
  26. Cohen, Daniel & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1986. "Growth and external debt under risk of debt repudiation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 529-560, June.
  27. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Kaminsky, Graciela L., 1991. "Debt relief and debt rescheduling : The optimal-contract approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 5-36, July.
  28. Stefano G. Athanasoulis & Robert J. Shiller, 2001. "World Income Components: Measuring and Exploiting Risk-Sharing Opportunities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1031-1054, September.
  29. Dotsey, Michael & Lantz, Carl & Scholl, Brian, 2003. " The Behavior of the Real Rate of Interest," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(1), pages 91-110, February.
  30. repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2003. "The Elusive Gains from International Financial Integration," NBER Working Papers 9684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Carlos F. Diaz-Alejandro, 1984. "Latin American Debt: I Don't Think We Are in Kansas Anymore," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 335-403.
  33. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
  34. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315.
  35. William R. Cline, 1995. "International Debt Reexamined," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 46.
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