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Non-Defaultable Debt and Sovereign Risk

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  • Juan Carlos Hatchondo
  • Leonardo Martinez
  • Yasin Kursat Onder

Abstract

We quantify gains from introducing non-defaultable debt as a limited additional financing option into a model of equilibrium sovereign risk. We find that, for an initial (defaultable) sovereign debt level equal to 66 percent of trend aggregate income and a sovereign spread of 2.9 percent, introducing the possibility of issuing non-defaultable debt for up to 10 percent of aggregate income reduces immediately the spread to 1.4 percent, and implies a welfare gain equivalent to a permanent consumption increase of 0.9 percent. The spread reduction would be only 0.1 (0.2) percentage points higher if the government uses nondefaultable debt to buy back (finance a “voluntary” debt exchange for) previously issued defaultable debt. Without restrictions to defaultable debt issuances in the future, the spread reduction achieved by the introduction of non-defaultable debt is short lived. We also show that allowing governments in default to increase non-defaultable debt is damaging at the time non-defaultable debt is introduced and inconsequential in the medium term. These findings shed light on different aspects of proposals to introduce common euro-area sovereign bonds that could be virtually non-defaultable.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Yasin Kursat Onder, 2014. "Non-Defaultable Debt and Sovereign Risk," IMF Working Papers 14/198, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:14/198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pancrazi, Roberto & Seoane, Hernán D. & Vukotić, Marija, 2020. "Welfare gains of bailouts in a sovereign default model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    2. Holtemöller, Oliver & Scherer, Jan-Christopher, 2018. "Sovereign stress, banking stress, and the monetary transmission mechanism in the Euro area," IWH Discussion Papers 3/2018, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    3. Timm M. Prein & Almuth Scholl, 2018. "The Impact of Bailouts on Political Turnover and Sovereign Default Risk," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2018-04, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    4. Foley-Fisher, Nathan & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2016. "Sovereign debt guarantees and default: Lessons from the UK and Ireland, 1920–1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 272-286.
    5. Engwerda, Jacob & van Aarle, Bas & Anevlavis, Tzanis, 2019. "Debt stabilization games in a monetary union: What are the effects of introducing eurobonds?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 78-102.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Econometric models; Debt buyback arrangements; Bond issues; Eurobond markets; Sovereign debt; Sovereign debt defaults; Sovereign risk; sovereign default; Eurobonds; red bonds; blue bonds; buyback; voluntary debt exchange; bonds; bond; debt exchange; debt reduction; General; International Lending and Debt Problems;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

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