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The debt crisis: lessons of the 1980's for the 1990's

  • Graciela L. Kaminsky
  • Alfredo Pereira

One of the salient characteristics of the 1980s is the growth collapse of the Latin American debtor countries. The debt-overhang literature claims that the debt crisis is the main reason for the growth collapse. However, previous empirical work has failed to support this hypothesis. We reexamine this hypothesis further using simulation and econometric methods. We find that once we account for the effects of social inequality on government policy and consumption, the burden of servicing the debt becomes an important factor in explaining the collapse in investment and output growth in Latin America. We draw some conclusions for the 1990s.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 481.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:481
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  1. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
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  9. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1993. "“Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," MPRA Paper 7125, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Borensztein, Eduardo, 1990. "Debt overhang, credit rationing and investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 315-335, April.
  11. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Financing vs. Forgiving a Debt Overhang," NBER Working Papers 2486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cochrane, John H, 1989. "The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 319-37, June.
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
  14. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1994. "The capital inflows problem: Concepts and issues," MPRA Paper 13902, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Carmen Reinhart & Guillermo Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman, 1992. "Capital Inflows to Latin America; The 1970's and the 1990's," IMF Working Papers 92/85, International Monetary Fund.
  18. 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.
  19. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "A Cross-Country Study of Growth, Saving, and Government," NBER Working Papers 2855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1992. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America," MPRA Paper 13843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
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  24. Reinhart, Carmen & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1994. "Capital inflows to Latin America," MPRA Paper 13406, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  25. Arrau, Patricio, 1990. "How does the debt crisis affect investment and growth? : a neoclassical growth model applied to Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 378, The World Bank.
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