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A fiscal theory of sovereign risk

  • Uribe, Martín

This paper presents a fiscal theory of sovereign risk and default. Under certain monetary-fiscal regimes, the risk of default, and thus the emergence of sovereign risk premia, are inevitable. The paper characterizes the equilibrium processes of the sovereign risk premium and the default rate under a number of alternative monetary policy arrangements. It is argued that, given the fiscal stance, monetary policy plays a crucial role in shaping the equilibrium behaviour of the country risk premium and the default rate. For instance, under some of the monetary policy rules considered, the expected default rate and the sovereign risk premium are zero (and therefore unforecastable) although the government defaults regularly. Under other monetary regimes the default rate and the sovereign risk premium are serially correlated (and therefore forecastable). In addition, environments are characterized under which delaying default is counterproductive. JEL Classification: E6, F4

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0187.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20020187
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  1. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  2. Jess Benhabib & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2000. "Avoiding Liquidity Traps," Departmental Working Papers 199925, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2000. "Price level determinacy and monetary policy under a balanced-budget requirement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 211-246, February.
  4. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2003. "Government Finance in the Wake of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 9786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Working Papers 6646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Benhabib, Jess & Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 1999. "The Perils of Taylor Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 2314, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," Working Papers 97-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  9. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
  10. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  11. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  12. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
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