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Persistent Gaps, Volatility Types, and Default Traps

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  • Ana L Fostel
  • Sandeep Kapur
  • Luis Catão

Abstract

We show that cross-country differences in the underlying volatility and persistence of macroeconomic shocks help explain two historical regularities in sovereign borrowing: the existence of "vicious" circles of borrowing-and-default ("default traps"), as well as the fact that recalcitrant sovereigns typically face higher interest spreads on future loans rather than outright market exclusion. We do so in a simple model where output persistence is coupled with asymmetric information between borrowers and lenders about the borrower's output process, implying that a decision to default reveals valuable information to lenders about the borrower's future output path. Using a broad cross-country database spanning over a century, we provide econometric evidence corroborating the model's main predictions-namely, that countries with higher output persistence and conditional volatility of transient shocks face higher spreads and thus fall into default traps more easily, whereas higher volatility of permanent output tends to dampen these effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana L Fostel & Sandeep Kapur & Luis Catão, 2007. "Persistent Gaps, Volatility Types, and Default Traps," IMF Working Papers 07/148, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/148
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2008. "Emerging Markets in an Anxious Global Economy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1646, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Fløgstad, Cathrin N. & Nordtveit, Ingvild, 2014. "Lending to developing countries: How do official creditors respond to sovereign defaults?," Working Papers in Economics 01/14, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    3. Nikolai Stähler, 2013. "Recent Developments In Quantitative Models Of Sovereign Default," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 605-633, September.
    4. Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2010. "International Government Debt," Business School Working Papers 2010-03, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    5. Bednarik, Radek, 2008. "Analýza volatility devizových kurzů vybraných ekonomik
      [The Analysis of Volatility of Selected Countries' Exchange Rates]
      ," MPRA Paper 15046, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic models; Borrowing; Production; Sovereign Debt; Default; Country Spreads; Output Volatility and Persistence; bond; bonds; sovereign bond; bondholders; Sovereign Debt. Default;

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