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Is Inflation Default? The Role of Information in Debt Crises

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  • Marco Bassetto
  • Carlo Galli

Abstract

We consider a two-period Bayesian trading game where in each period informed agents decide whether to buy an asset (\"government debt\") after observing an idiosyncratic signal about the prospects of default. While second-period buyers only need to forecast default, first-period buyers pass the asset to the new agents in the secondary market, and thus need to form beliefs about the price that will prevail at that stage. We provide conditions such that coarser information in the hands of second-period agents makes the price of debt more resilient to bad shocks not only in the last period, but in the first one as well. We use this model to study the consequences of issuing debt denominated in domestic vs. foreign currency: we interpret the former as subject to inflation risk and the latter as subject to default risk, with inflation driven by the information of a less-sophisticated group of agents endowed with less precise information, and default by the information of sophisticated bond traders. Our results can be used to account for the behavior of debt prices across countries following the 2008 financial crisis, and also provide a theory of \"original sin.\"

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  • Marco Bassetto & Carlo Galli, 2017. "Is Inflation Default? The Role of Information in Debt Crises," Working Paper Series WP-2017-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2017-06
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    Cited by:

    1. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza, 2023. "Yet it Endures: The Persistence of Original Sin," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 1-42, February.
    2. Galli, Carlo, 2021. "Self-fulfilling debt crises, fiscal policy and investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    3. R. Anton Braun & Tomoyuki Nakajima, 2018. "Why Prices Don't Respond Sooner to a Prospective Sovereign Debt Crisis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 235-255, July.
    4. Javier Bianchi & Jorge Mondragon, 2022. "Monetary Independence and Rollover Crises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 137(1), pages 435-491.
    5. Elias Albagli & Christian Hellwig & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2021. "Dispersed Information and Asset Prices," Working Papers hal-03118639, HAL.
    6. Ricardo Reis, 2020. "The People versus the Markets: A Parsimonious Model of Inflation Expectations," Discussion Papers 2033, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    7. Grace Weishi Gu & Zachary R. Stangebye, 2023. "Costly Information And Sovereign Risk," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1397-1429, November.
    8. Jean Barthélemy & Eric Mengus & Guillaume Plantin, 2021. "The Central Bank, the Treasury, or the Market: Which One Determines the Price Level?," Working papers 855, Banque de France.
    9. Albagli, Elias & Hellwig, Christian & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2021. "Information Aggregation with Asymmetric Asset Payoffs," TSE Working Papers 21-1172, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Apr 2023.
    10. Veldkamp, Laura & Farboodi, Maryam, 2018. "Long Run Growth of Financial Data Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 13278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Hellwig, Christian & Albagli, Elias & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2022. "Information Aggregation and Asymmetric Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 15644, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Teupe, Sebastian, 2020. "Keynes, Inflation, and the Public Debt: "How to Pay for the War" as a Policy Prescription for Financial Repression?," Working Papers 16, German Research Foundation's Priority Programme 1859 "Experience and Expectation. Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour", Humboldt University Berlin.
    13. Maryam Farboodi & Laura Veldkamp, 2018. "Long Run Growth of Financial Data Technology," Working Papers 18-09, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Government Debt; Currency Denomination; Debt; Inflation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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