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Sovereign debt, government myopia, and the financial sector

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  • Acharya, Viral V
  • Rajan, Raghuram G

Abstract

What determines the sustainability of sovereign debt? In this paper, we develop a model where myopic governments seek electoral popularity but can nevertheless commit credibly to service external debt. They do not default when they are poor because they would lose access to debt markets and be forced to reduce spending; they do not default when they become rich because of the adverse consequences to the domestic financial sector. Interestingly, the more myopic a government, the greater the advantage it sees in borrowing, and therefore the less likely it will be to default (in contrast to models where sovereigns repay because they are concerned about their long term reputation). More myopic governments are also likely to tax in a more distortionary way, and create more dependencies between the domestic financial sector and government debt that raise the costs of default. We use the model to explain recent experiences in sovereign debt markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Acharya, Viral V & Rajan, Raghuram G, 2011. "Sovereign debt, government myopia, and the financial sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 8668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8668
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    Cited by:

    1. Junye Li & Gabriele Zinna, 2014. "How much of bank credit risk is sovereign risk? Evidence from the eurozone," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 990, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Neyer, Ulrike & Sterzel, André, 2017. "Capital requirements for government bonds: Implications for bank behaviour and financial stability," DICE Discussion Papers 275, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    3. Eckhard Janeba & Maximilian Todtenhaupt, 2016. "Fiscal Competition and Public Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 6155, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Jeanneret, Alexandre & Souissi, Slim, 2016. "Sovereign defaults by currency denomination," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 197-222.
    5. Viral Acharya & Itamar Drechsler & Philipp Schnabl, 2014. "A Pyrrhic Victory? Bank Bailouts and Sovereign Credit Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(6), pages 2689-2739, December.
    6. Engler, Philipp & Große Steffen, Christoph, 2016. "Sovereign risk, interbank freezes, and aggregate fluctuations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 34-61.
    7. Collard, Fabrice & Habib, Michel Antoine & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2016. "The Reluctant Defaulter: A Tale of High Government Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 11299, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. repec:eee:jbfina:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:65-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Acharya, Viral V. & Steffen, Sascha, 2015. "The “greatest” carry trade ever? Understanding eurozone bank risks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 215-236.
    10. Banerjee, Anurag & Hung, Chi-Hsiou Daniel & Lo, Kai Lisa, 2016. "An anatomy of credit risk transfer between sovereign and financials in the Eurozone crisis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 102-120.
    11. Fratianni, Michele & Marchionne, Francesco, 2017. "Bank asset reallocation and sovereign debt," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-32.
    12. Anna Gibert, 2016. "The Signaling Role of Fiscal Austerity," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1623, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Yu-Li Huang & Chung-Hua Shen, 2015. "The Sovereign Effect on Bank Credit Ratings," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 341-379, June.
    14. Andreasen, Eugenia, 2015. "Sovereign default, enforcement and the private cost of capital," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 411-427.
    15. Viral V. Acharya & Bruce Tuckman, 2013. "Unintended Consequences of LOLR Facilities: The Case of Illiquid Leverage," NBER Working Papers 19773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Hasan, Iftekhar & Kim, Suk-Joong & Wu, Eliza, 2015. "The effects of ratings-contingent regulation on international bank lending behavior: Evidence from the Basel 2 Accord," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 61(S1), pages 53-68.
    17. Mickael Melki & Andrew Pickering, 2014. "Polarization and Government Debt," Discussion Papers 14/10, Department of Economics, University of York.
    18. Filippo De Marco & Marco Macchiavelli, 2016. "The Political Origin of Home Bias: The Case of Europe," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-060, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    19. Di Casola, Paola & Sichlimiris, Spyridon, 2017. "Domestic and External Sovereign Debt," Working Paper Series 345, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    20. Ferrando, Annalisa & Popov, Alexander & Udell, Gregory F., 2015. "Sovereign stress, unconventional monetary policy, and SME access to finance," Working Paper Series 1820, European Central Bank.
    21. Gennaioli, Nicola & Martin, Alberto & Rossi, Stefano, 2014. "Banks, Government Bonds, and Default: What do the Data Say?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Vlassopoulos, Thomas & C. Andreeva, Desislava, 2016. "Home bias in bank sovereign bond purchases and the bank-sovereign nexus," Working Paper Series 1977, European Central Bank.
    23. Kizys, Renatas & Paltalidis, Nikos & Vergos, Konstantinos, 2016. "The quest for banking stability in the euro area: The role of government interventions," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 111-133.
    24. Acharya, Viral V & Tuckman, Bruce, 2013. "Unintended Consequences of LOLR Facilities: The Case of Illiquid Leverage," CEPR Discussion Papers 9784, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ability to pay; political economy; sovereign default; willingness to pay;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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