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Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises


  • Axel Schimmelpfennig
  • Nouriel Roubini
  • Paolo Manasse


We develop an early-warning model of sovereign debt crises. A country is defined to be in a debt crisis if it is classified as being in default by Standard & Poor's, or if it has access to nonconcessional IMF financing in excess of 100 percent of quota. By means of logit and binary recursive tree analysis, we identify macroeconomic variables reflecting solvency and liquidity factors that predict a debt-crisis episode one year in advance. The logit model predicts 74 percent of all crises entries while sending few false alarms, and the recursive tree 89 percent while sending more false alarms.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Schimmelpfennig & Nouriel Roubini & Paolo Manasse, 2003. "Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises," IMF Working Papers 03/221, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/221

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eaton, Jonathan & Fernandez, Raquel, 1995. "Sovereign debt," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 3, pages 2031-2077 Elsevier.
    2. Swati R. Ghosh & Atish R. Ghosh, 2003. "Structural Vulnerabilities and Currency Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(3), pages 1-7.
    3. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Default, Currency Crises, and Sovereign Credit Ratings," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(2), pages 151-170, August.
    4. International Monetary Fund, 1998. "The Relative Importance of Political and Economic Variables in Creditworthiness Ratings," IMF Working Papers 98/46, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Richard Hemming & Axel Schimmelpfennig & Michael Kell, 2003. "Fiscal Vulnerability and Financial Crises in Emerging Market Economies," IMF Occasional Papers 218, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Guillermo Larraín & Helmut Reisen & Julia von Maltzan, 1997. "Emerging Market Risk and Sovereign Credit Ratings," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 124, OECD Publishing.
    7. Bennett W Sutton & Luis Catão, 2002. "Sovereign Defaults; The Role of Volatility," IMF Working Papers 02/149, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Jeronimo Zettelmeyer & Isabel Schnabel, 2002. "Moral Hazard and International Crisis Lending; A Test," IMF Working Papers 02/181, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity; Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Lee, Suk Hun, 1993. "Are the credit ratings assigned by bankers based on the willingness of LDC borrowers to repay?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 349-359, April.
    11. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 37-53.
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