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Debt Crises and the Development of International Capital Markets

  • Amadou N. R. Sy
  • Andrea Pescatori

Crises on external sovereign debt are typically defined as defaults. Such a definition accurately captures debt-servicing difficulties in the 1980s, a period of numerous defaults on bank loans. However, defining defaults as debt crises is problematic for the 1990s, when sovereign bond markets emerged. In contrast to the 1980s, the 1990s are characterized by significant foreign debt-servicing difficulties but fewer sovereign defaults. In order to capture this evolution of debt markets, we define debt crises as events occurring when either a country defaults or its bond spreads are above a critical threshold. We find that our definition outperforms the default-based definition in capturing debt-servicing difficulties and, consequently, in fitting the post-1994 period. In particular, liquidity indicators are significant in explaining our definition of debt crises, while they do not play any role in explaining defaults after 1994.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 04/44.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/44
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  1. Pozo, Susan & Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina, 2003. "Statistical distributions and the identification of currency crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 591-609, August.
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  3. 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.
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  9. Donogh C. McDonald, 1982. "Debt Capacity and Developing Country Borrowing: A Survey of the Literature (Capacité d'endettement et emprunts des pays en développement: aperçu des études consacrées à cette question) (Capacidad," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 29(4), pages 603-646, December.
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  12. Reinhart, Carmen, 2002. "Default, currency crises, and sovereign credit ratings," MPRA Paper 13917, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  15. Hu, Yen-Ting & Kiesel, Rudiger & Perraudin, William, 2002. "The estimation of transition matrices for sovereign credit ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 1383-1406, July.
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