IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Self-fulfilling and Self-enforcing Debt Crises


  • Cohen, Daniel
  • Villemot, Sébastien


We distinguish two attitudes towards debt. The attitude of prudent borrowers, which attempt to stabilize their debts to low levels, even in the event of a bad shock, and what we call, after Krugman, "Panglossian" borrowers, which only focus on the best of their growth prospects, and rationally anticipate to default on their debt when hit by a bad shock. We show empirically that this distinction is consistent with the data. Past a threshold of risk which, we show, corresponds to a spread of about 450 basis points, countries fail to respond to bad shocks and let their risk drift accordingly. We also distinguish two types of debt crises. Those which are the effect of an exogenous shock, and those which are self-fulfillingly created by the financial markets themselves. We show that the large majority of crises are of the first kind, although the probability of self-fulfilling cases is not negligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Cohen, Daniel & Villemot, Sébastien, 2008. "Self-fulfilling and Self-enforcing Debt Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 6718, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6718

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item


    Self-fulfilling crises; Sovereign debt;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6718. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.