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Maturity, indebtedness, and default risk


  • Satyajit Chatterjee
  • Burcu Eyigungor


We present a novel and tractable model of long-term sovereign debt. We make two sets of contributions. First, on the substantive side, using Argentina as a test case we show that unlike one-period debt models, our model of long-term sovereign debt is capable of accounting for the average spread, the average default frequency, and the average debt-to-output ratio of Argentina over the 1991-2001 period without any deterioration in the model's ability to account for Argentina's cyclical facts. Using our calibrated model we determine what Argentina's debt, default frequency and welfare would have been if Argentina had issued only short-term debt. Second, on the methodological side, we advance the theory of sovereign debt begun in Eaton and Gersovitz (1981) by establishing the existence of an equilibrium pricing function for long-term sovereign debt and by providing a fairly complete set of characterization results regarding equilibrium default and borrowing behavior. In addition, we identify and solve a computational problem associated with pricing long-term unsecured debt that stems from nonconvexities introduced by the possibility of default.

Suggested Citation

  • Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2009. "Maturity, indebtedness, and default risk," Working Papers 09-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:09-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gelos, R. Gaston & Sahay, Ratna & Sandleris, Guido, 2011. "Sovereign borrowing by developing countries: What determines market access?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 243-254, March.
    2. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Horacio Sapriza, 2010. "Quantitative properties of sovereign default models: solution methods," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 919-933, October.
    3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
    4. Cristina Arellano & Ananth Ramanarayanan, 2012. "Default and the Maturity Structure in Sovereign Bonds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(2), pages 187-232.
    5. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2007. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 402-418, March.
    6. Fernando A. Broner & Guido Lorenzoni & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2013. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 67-100, January.
    7. Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo, 2009. "Long-duration bonds and sovereign defaults," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 117-125, September.
    8. Cuadra, Gabriel & Sapriza, Horacio, 2008. "Sovereign default, interest rates and political uncertainty in emerging markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 78-88, September.
    9. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
    10. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
    11. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
    12. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
    13. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2006. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 64-83, June.
    14. David Benjamin, 2008. "Recovery Before Redemption," 2008 Meeting Papers 531, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Athreya, Kartik B., 2002. "Welfare implications of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1567-1595, November.
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    More about this item


    Default (Finance) ; Debts; Public ; Bonds;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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