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Dealing with Debt: The 1930's and the 1980's

  • Eichengreen, B.
  • Portes, R.

This paper summarizes and extends the conclusions of a series of papers on the interwar experience of sovereign borrowing, default and debt readjustment. In explaining the incidence and extent of default, we highlight the importance of a range of factors, both economic and political. We find evidence that countries that interrupted debt service recovered more quickly from the Depression; were able subsequently to render substantially reduced transfers to their creditors; and did not experience access to capital markets in the 1940s and 1950s that was any more restricted than that available to debtors who fully serviced their debts throughout. Attempts at global schemes to short cut protracted bilateral negotiations foundered on disagreements over the funding and control of such schemes, casting doubt on the prospects for such global plans in the 1990s.

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Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 89-04.

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Date of creation: 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in I. Husain and I. Diwan (eds.), Dealing With the Debt Crisis, pp. 69-86, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:89-04
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  1. Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1988. "Settling Defaults in the Era of Bond Finance," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1x20r17d, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Barry Eichengreen & Richard Portes, 1987. "The Anatomy of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 2126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sule Ozler, 1988. "Evolution of Commerical Bank Lending to Developing Countries," UCLA Economics Working Papers 497, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
  5. Stanley Fischer, 1987. "Resolving the International Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 2373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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