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Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some Lessons Learned and Those Forgotten

  • Carmen Reinhart
  • Kenneth Rogoff

Even after one of the most severe multi-year crises on record in the advanced economies, the received wisdom in policy circles clings to the notion that high-income countries are completely different from their emerging market counterparts. The current phase of the official policy approach is predicated on the assumption that debt sustainability can be achieved through a mix of austerity, forbearance and growth. The claim is that advanced countries do not need to resort to the standard toolkit of emerging markets, including debt restructurings and conversions, higher inflation, capital controls and other forms of financial repression. As we document, this claim is at odds with the historical track record of most advanced economies, where debt restructuring or conversions, financial Repression, and a tolerance for higher inflation, or a combination of these were an integral part of the resolution of significant past debt overhangs.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/266.

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Length: 21
Date of creation: 24 Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/266
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  1. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Schreger, Jesse M, 2013. "Over-optimistic Official Forecasts and Fiscal Rules in the Eurozone," Scholarly Articles 9804488, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Carmen M. & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2011. "The Liquidation of Government Debt," Working Paper Series WP11-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  3. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace," CEPR Discussion Papers 7131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Michael Reddell, 2012. "The New Zealand Debt Conversion Act 1933: a case study in coercive domestic public debt restructuring," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 75, pages 38-45, March.
  5. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
  6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
  7. Smits, J.-P. & Woltjer, P. & Ma, D., 2009. "A Dataset on Comparative Historical National Accounts, ca.1870-1950: A Time-Series Perspective," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-107, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  8. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Smits, J.-P. & Woltjer, P. & Ma, D., 2009. "A Dataset on Comparative Historical National Accounts, ca.1870-1950: A Time-Series Perspective," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-107, .
  10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  11. Robert J. Barro & José F. Ursúa, 2009. "Stock-Market Crashes and Depressions," NBER Working Papers 14760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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