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Fiscal Policy, Sovereign Default, and Bailouts

  • Falko Juessen
  • Andreas Schabert

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.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 67.

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Date of creation: 10 Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0067
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  1. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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  5. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Defaultable Debt, Interest Rates and the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 10731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gabriel Cuadra & Juan Sanchez & Horacio Sapriza, 2010. "Fiscal Policy and Default Risk in Emerging Markets," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 452-469, April.
  7. 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 1088-97, December.
  8. 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.
  9. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," NBER Working Papers 13946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2013. "Distributional Incentives in an Equilibrium Model of Domestic Sovereign Default," NBER Working Papers 19477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1998. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Levine's Working Paper Archive 114, David K. Levine.
  13. Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2009. "The Economics and Law of Sovereign Debt and Default," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 651-98, September.
  14. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  15. Michael Grill & Klaus Adam, 2012. "Optimal Sovereign Debt Default," 2012 Meeting Papers 882, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Boz, Emine, 2011. "Sovereign default, private sector creditors, and the IFIs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 70-82, January.
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