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Dealing with Destabilizing 'Market Discipline'

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  • Daniel Cohen
  • Richard Portes

Abstract

If interest rates (country spreads) rise, debt can rapidly be subject to a snowball effect, which then becomes self-fulfilling with regard to the fundamentals themselves. This is a market imperfection, because we cannot be confident that the unaided market will choose the good equilibrium' over the bad equilibrium'. We see here a fundamental flaw in the process of market discipline. We propose a policy intervention to deal with this structural weakness in the mechanisms of international capital flows. This is based on a simple taxonomy that enables us to break down the origin of crises into three components: a crisis of confidence (spreads and currency crisis), a crisis of fundamentals (real growth rate), and a crisis of economic policy (primary deficit). The policy would seek to short-circuit confidence crises, partly by using IMF support to improve ex ante incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Cohen & Richard Portes, 2004. "Dealing with Destabilizing 'Market Discipline'," NBER Working Papers 10533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10533
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter H. Lindert & Peter J. Morton, 1989. "How Sovereign Debt Has Worked," NBER Chapters,in: Developing Country Debt and Economic Performance, Volume 1: The International Financial System, pages 39-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fischer, Stanley, 1999. "Reforming the International Financial System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(459), pages 557-576, November.
    3. Uribe, Martin & Yue, Vivian Z., 2006. "Country spreads and emerging countries: Who drives whom?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 6-36, June.
    4. Cohen, Daniel, 2001. "The HIPC Initiative: True and False Promises," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 363-380, Winter.
    5. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-661, September.
    6. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
    7. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1995. "Sovereign credit ratings," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 1(Jun).
    8. John Williamson, 2000. "The Role of the IMF: A Guide to the Reports," Policy Briefs PB00-5, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    9. Antonio Afonso, 2003. "Understanding the determinants of sovereign debt ratings: Evidence for the two leading agencies," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 27(1), pages 56-74, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Montiel & Luis Servén, 2006. "Macroeconomic Stability in Developing Countries: How Much Is Enough?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 151-178.
    2. Hefeker, Carsten, 2006. "Vermeidung und Bewältigung von Verschuldungskrisen: Die Rolle privater und öffentlicher Institutionen," HWWA Discussion Papers 340, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    3. Philipp Paulus, 2004. "The fiscal stability impact of monetary unions - looking beneath the Stability Pact debate," Otto-Wolff-Institut Discussion Paper Series 05/2004, Otto-Wolff-Institut für Wirtschaftsordnung, Köln, Deutschland.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

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