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Deadly Debt Crises: COVID-19 in Emerging Markets

Author

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  • Cristina Arellano
  • Yan Bai
  • Gabriel Mihalache

Abstract

The COVID-19 epidemic in emerging markets risks a combined health, economic, and debt crisis. We integrate a standard epidemiology model into a sovereign default model and study how default risk impacts the ability of these countries to respond to the epidemic. Lockdown policies are useful for alleviating the health crisis but they carry large economic costs and can generate costly and prolonged debt crises. The possibility of lockdown induced debt crises in turn results in less aggressive lockdowns and a more severe health crisis. We find that the social value of debt relief can be substantial because it can prevent the debt crisis and can save lives.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristina Arellano & Yan Bai & Gabriel Mihalache, 2020. "Deadly Debt Crises: COVID-19 in Emerging Markets," Staff Report 603, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:88044
    DOI: 10.21034/sr.603
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Default risk; Pandemic mitigation; Sovereign debt; Partial default; Debt relief; COVID-19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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