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  • Luis Catão
  • Rui Mano

Abstract

We re-assess the view that sovereigns with a history of default are charged only a small and/or short-lived premium on the interest rate warranted by observed fundamentals. Our reassessment uses a metric of such a “default premium” (DP) that is consistent with asymmetric information models and nests previous metrics, and applies it to a much broader dataset relative to earlier studies. We find a sizeable and persistent DP: in 1870-1938, it averaged 250 bps upon market re-entry, tapering to around 150 bps five years out; in 1970- 2011 the respective estimates are about 400 and 200 bps. We also find that: (i) these estimates are robust to many controls including on actual haircuts; (ii) the DP accounts for as much as 60% of the sovereign spread within five years of market re-entry; (iii) the DP rises with market exclusion spells. These findings help reconnect theory and evidence on why sovereign defaults are infrequent and earlier debt settlements are desirable.

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  • Luis Catão & Rui Mano, 2015. "Default Premium," IMF Working Papers 15/167, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:15/167
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    Cited by:

    1. Trebesch, Christoph & Zabel, Michael, 2017. "The output costs of hard and soft sovereign default," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 416-432.
    2. Eberhardt, Markus, 2018. "(At Least) Four Theories for Sovereign Default," CEPR Discussion Papers 13084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International financial markets; Sovereign debt; Emerging markets; Country Risk; Interest Rate Spread; Haircut; market; debt; default; interest; interest rate; International Lending and Debt Problems; General; International; or Comparative;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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