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Fiscal Policy, Sovereign Default, and Bailouts


  • Juessen, Falko

    () (University of Wuppertal)

  • Schabert, Andreas

    () (University of Cologne)


This paper examines fiscal policy without commitment and the effects of conditional bailout loans. The government relies on distortionary taxation and decides between full debt repayment and costly default. It tends to overborrow due to myopia, which induces default to be a relevant policy option and provides a rationale to constrain sovereign borrowing. We consider a lump-sum financed fund that offers loans at a favorable price and conditional upon minimum primary surpluses. While the government prefers defaulting in the most adverse states, we find that it is willing to accept conditional loans in close-to-default states. These bailouts can lead to an increase in the mean debt price and a lower default probability that are associated with enhanced household welfare. Yet, these outcomes can be reversed when bailouts are too generous, while public debt never decreases in the long-run when bailout loans are available.

Suggested Citation

  • Juessen, Falko & Schabert, Andreas, 2013. "Fiscal Policy, Sovereign Default, and Bailouts," IZA Discussion Papers 7805, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7805

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do Countries Default in "Bad Times" ?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 352-360, 04-05.
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    4. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2016. "Distributional Incentives In An Equilibrium Model Of Domestic Sovereign Default," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 7-44, February.
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    6. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
    7. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 319-350, May.
    8. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Horacio Sapriza, 2010. "Quantitative properties of sovereign default models: solution methods matter," Working Paper 10-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    9. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
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    12. Boz, Emine, 2011. "Sovereign default, private sector creditors, and the IFIs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 70-82, January.
    13. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2006. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 64-83, June.
    14. Grossman, Herschel I & Van Huyck, John B, 1988. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1088-1097, December.
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    16. Francisco Roch & Harald Uhlig, 2016. "The Dynamics of Sovereign Debt Crises and Bailouts," IMF Working Papers 16/136, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Niemann & Paul Pichler, 2017. "Collateral, Liquidity and Debt Sustainability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2093-2126, September.
    2. Engler, Philipp & Große Steffen, Christoph, 2016. "Sovereign risk, interbank freezes, and aggregate fluctuations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 34-61.
    3. Fink, Fabian & Scholl, Almuth, 2016. "A quantitative model of sovereign debt, bailouts and conditionality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 176-190.
    4. Francisco Roch & Harald Uhlig, 2016. "The Dynamics of Sovereign Debt Crises and Bailouts," IMF Working Papers 16/136, International Monetary Fund.
    5. repec:esx:essedp:730 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    discretionary fiscal policy; overborrowing; sovereign default; bailout loans; conditionality;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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