IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Estimating Default Probabilities of Emerging Market Sovereigns: A New Look at a Not-So-New Literature




The January 2001 proposal for a New Basel Capital Accord has renewed the interest in obtaining default probabilities for various types of borrowers. This paper uses a panel logit model to estimate default probabilities of 78 emerging market countries (1984-97) as a function of a set of economic and political variables. These sovereign default probabilities are then compared with the default rates associated with the sovereign credit ratings of the two major rating agencies, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's. Unlike the existing literature, we define the dependent variable ("sovereign default") differently, using the changes in the levels of debt arrears and amounts rescheduled as criteria instead of the levels themselves. The paper finds, first, that the most important determinants of sovereign default appear to be the past repayment performance of a country, the cost of international credit, the volatility of per capita income, political risk, and exchange rate misalignments. Second, the comparison of estimated default probabilities with rating agencies' default rates shows that the latter seem to considerably underestimate sovereign default risk. In other words, sovereign credit ratings appear to be too high on average.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Peter, 2002. "Estimating Default Probabilities of Emerging Market Sovereigns: A New Look at a Not-So-New Literature," IHEID Working Papers 06-2002, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp06-2002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp06-2002. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dorina Dobre). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.