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Gambling for redemption and self-fulfilling debt crises

  • Juan Carlos Conesa
  • Timothy J. Kehoe

We develop a model for analyzing the sovereign debt crises of 2010–2012 in the Eurozone. The government sets its expenditure-debt policy optimally. The need to sell large quantities of bonds every period leaves the government vulnerable to self-fulfilling crises in which investors, anticipating a crisis, are unwilling to buy the bonds, thereby provoking the crisis. In this situation, the optimal policy of the government is to reduce its debt to a level where crises are not possible. If, however, the economy is in a recession where there is a positive probability of recovery in fiscal revenues, the government may optimally choose to “gamble for redemption,” running deficits and increasing its debt, thereby increasing its vulnerability to crises.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 465.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:465
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  1. Broner, Fernando A. & Lorenzoni, Guido & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2004. "Why do emerging economies borrow short term?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3389, The World Bank.
  2. Cole, Harold L. & Kehoe, Timothy J., 1996. "A self-fulfilling model of Mexico's 1994-1995 debt crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 309-330, November.
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  5. Sosa-Padilla, Cesar, 2012. "Sovereign Defaults and Banking Crises," MPRA Paper 41074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
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  9. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1998. "Self-fulfilling debt crises," Staff Report 211, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  12. Chamley Christophe P & Pinto Brian, 2011. "Why Official Bailouts Tend Not To Work: An Example Motivated by Greece 2010," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-5, February.
  13. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
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