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

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Abstract

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.

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  • 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
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Cuadra & Horacio Sapriza, 2006. "Sovereign Default, Terms of Trade and Interest Rates in Emerging Markets," Working Papers 2006-01, Banco de México.
    2. Gabriel Cuadra & Juan Sanchez & Horacio Sapriza, 2010. "Fiscal Policy and Default Risk in Emerging Markets," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 452-469, April.
    3. Dawood, Mary & Horsewood, Nicholas & Strobel, Frank, 2017. "Predicting sovereign debt crises: An Early Warning System approach," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 16-28.
    4. De Paoli, Bianca & Hoggarth, Glenn & Saporta, Victoria, 2009. "Output costs of sovereign crises: some empirical estimates," Bank of England working papers 362, Bank of England.
    5. Genberg, Hans & Sulstarova, Astrit, 2008. "Macroeconomic volatility, debt dynamics, and sovereign interest rate spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 26-39, February.
    6. Marcel Peter & Martín Grandes, 2005. "How Important Is Sovereign Risk in Determining Corporate Default Premia? The Case of South Africa," IMF Working Papers 05/217, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Sy, Amadou N.R., 2004. "Rating the rating agencies: Anticipating currency crises or debt crises?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2845-2867, November.
    8. Narjess Boubakri & Jean-Claude Cosset & Houcem Smaoui, 2011. "Political Institutions and Sovereign Credit Spreads," Working Papers 647, Economic Research Forum, revised 12 Jan 2011.
    9. Durdu, C. Bora & Nunes, Ricardo & Sapriza, Horacio, 2013. "News and sovereign default risk in small open economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 1-17.
    10. 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.
    11. Katy Cornwell & Brett Inder, 2007. "Evidence for the ineffectiveness of debt rescheduling as a policy instrument," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(17), pages 2269-2278.
    12. Fuertes, Ana-Maria & Kalotychou, Elena, 2007. "Optimal design of early warning systems for sovereign debt crises," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 85-100.
    13. Laura Andrade-Pardo & Oscar Valencia-Arana & Diego Vásquez-Escobar & Mauricio Villamizar-Villegas, 2016. "Uncovering the portfolio balance channel with the use of sovereign credit ratings," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 34(81), pages 191-205, November.
    14. repec:trp:01jefa:jefa0007 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Martin Bruns & Tigran Poghosyan, 2016. "Leading Indicators of Fiscal Distress; Evidence from the Extreme Bound Analysis," IMF Working Papers 16/28, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Eicher, Theo S. & Schubert, Stefan F. & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2008. "Dynamic effects of terms of trade shocks: The impact on debt and growth," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 876-896, October.
    17. Fuertes, Ana-Maria & Kalotychou, Elena, 2006. "Early warning systems for sovereign debt crises: The role of heterogeneity," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 1420-1441, November.
    18. Yong Kyun Kim, 2013. "Inequality and Sovereign Default under Democracy," European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, Fatih University, vol. 6(1), pages 5-40.
    19. Ana-Maria Fuertes & Elena Kalotychou, 2004. "Elements in the Design of an Early Warning System for Sovereign Default," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 231, Society for Computational Economics.
    20. Zeaiter, Hussein & El-Khalil, Raed, 2016. "Extreme bounds of sovereign defaults: Evidence from the MENA region," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 391-410.
    21. Andreas Rathgeber & David Rudolph & Stefan Stöckl, 2015. "Pricing anomaly at the first sight: same borrower in different currencies faces different credit spreads—an explanation by means of a quanto option," Review of Derivatives Research, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 107-143, July.
    22. Chakrabarti, Avik & Zeaiter, Hussein, 2014. "The determinants of sovereign default: A sensitivity analysis," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 300-318.
    23. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Horacio Sapriza, 2007. "The economics of sovereign defaults," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 163-187.
    24. Zeaiter, Hussein Zeaiter, 2013. "Sovereign Debt Defaults: Evidence using Extreme bounds Analysis," Working Papers 32/2013, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).

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