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The Costs of Sovereign Default

  • Eduardo Borensztein
  • Ugo Panizza

This paper evaluates empirically four types of cost that may result from an international sovereign default: reputational costs, international trade exclusion costs, costs to the domestic economy through the financial system, and political costs to the authorities. It finds that the economic costs are generally significant but short-lived, and sometimes do not operate through conventional channels. The political consequences of a debt crisis, by contrast, seem to be particularly dire for incumbent governments and finance ministers, broadly in line with what happens in currency crises.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/238.

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Length: 50
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/238
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  1. Eduardo Borensztein & Ugo Panizza, 2006. "Do Sovereign Defaults Hurt Exporters?," Research Department Publications 4447, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
  3. Gelos, R. Gaston & Sahay, Ratna & Sandleris, Guido, 2011. "Sovereign borrowing by developing countries: What determines market access?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 243-254, March.
  4. Cohen, Daniel, 1992. "The Debt Crisis: A Post Mortem," CEPR Discussion Papers 692, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Axel Schimmelpfennig & Nouriel Roubini & Paolo Manasse, 2003. "Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises," IMF Working Papers 03/221, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Chowdhry, Bhagwan, 1991. "What Is Different about International Lending?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(1), pages 121-48.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  8. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1998. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget," Levine's Working Paper Archive 209, David K. Levine.
  9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  10. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  11. Dooley, Michael P., 2000. "International financial architecture and strategic default: can financial crises be less painful?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 361-377, December.
  12. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  13. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Isabel Schnabel, 2002. "Moral Hazard and International Crisis Lending: A Test," IMF Working Papers 02/181, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Love, Inessa & Preve, Lorenzo A. & Sarria-Allende, Virginia, 2007. "Trade credit and bank credit: Evidence from recent financial crises," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 453-469, February.
  15. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
  16. DellAriccia, Giovanni & Detragiache, Enrica & Rajan, Raghuram G, 2005. "The Real Effect of Banking Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 5088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Eduardo Borensztein & Ugo Panizza, 2006. "Do Sovereign Defaults Hurt Exporters?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6704, Inter-American Development Bank.
  18. Ugo Panizza & Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 2006. "The Elusive Costs of Sovereign Defaults," Research Department Publications 4485, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  19. Andrew K. Rose, 2002. "One Reason Countries Pay Their Debts: Renegotiation and International Trade," Working Papers 042002, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  20. Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1985. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 1673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Peter H. Lindert & Peter J. Morton, 1989. "How Sovereign Debt Has Worked," NBER Chapters, in: Developing Country Debt and Economic Performance, Volume 1: The International Financial System, pages 39-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. repec:imf:imfwpa:05/63 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Ozler, Sule, 1993. "Have Commercial Banks Ignored History?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 608-20, June.
  24. Michael T. Gapen & Dale F. Gray & Cheng Hoon Lim & Yingbin Xiao, 2005. "Measuring and Analyzing Sovereign Risk with Contingent Claims," IMF Working Papers 05/155, International Monetary Fund.
  25. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2005. "Contractionary Currency Crashes In Developing Countries," Working Paper Series rwp05-017, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  26. Sutter, Matthias, 2003. " The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: An Experimental Study on the Strategic Use of Deficits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 313-32, September.
  27. Reinhart, Carmen & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1994. "Capital inflows to Latin America," MPRA Paper 13406, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  28. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-86, June.
  29. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  30. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity; Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
  31. Ali Alichi, 2008. "A Model of Sovereign Debt in Democracies," IMF Working Papers 08/152, International Monetary Fund.
  32. 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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