IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/1673.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation

Author

Listed:
  • Herschel I. Grossman
  • John B. Van Huyck

Abstract

History suggests the following stylized facts about default on sovereign debt:(1) Defaults are associated with identifiably bad states of the world. (2) Defaults are usually partial, rather than complete.(3) Sovereign states usually are able to borrow again soon after a default. Motivated by these facts, this paper analyses a reputational equilibrium in a model that interprets sovereign debts as contingent claims that both finance investments and facilitate risk shifting. Loans are a useful device to facilitate risk shifting because they permit the prepayment of indemnities. Nevertheless, because the power to abrogate commitments without having to answer to a higher enforcement authority is an essential aspect of sovereignty, a decision by a sovereign to validate lender expectations about debt servicing depends on the sovereign's concern for its trust worthy reputation. A trustworthy reputationis valuable because it provides continued access to loans. A key aspect of the analysis is that lenders differentiate excusable default, which is associated with implicitly understood contingencies, from unjustifiable repudiation. In the reputational equilibrium, the short-run benefits from repudiation are smaller than the long-run costs from loss of a trustworthy reputation. Thus, although sovereigns sometimes excusably default, they never repudiate their debts. The reputational equilibrium can involve efficient risk shifting and efficient investment or it can involve a binding lending ceiling that limits risk shifting and can also restrict investment. The factors that tend to produce a binding lending ceiling include a high time discount rate for the sovereign, low-risk aversion forthe sovereign, and a low net return from the sovereign's investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1985. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 1673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1673
    Note: ME EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1673.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey Sachs & Daniel Cohen, 1982. "LDC Borrowing with Default Risk," NBER Working Papers 0925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
    4. Kletzer, Kenneth M, 1984. "Asymmetries of Information and LDC Borrowing with Sovereign Risk," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 287-307, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & César Sosa-Padilla, 2016. "Debt Dilution and Sovereign Default Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(5), pages 1383-1422.
    2. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2006. "Deuda soberana: indexación y vencimiento," Research Department Publications 4460, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Hernandez-Trillo, Fausto, 1995. "A model-based estimation of the probability of default in sovereign credit markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 163-179, February.
    4. Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo, 2009. "Long-duration bonds and sovereign defaults," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 117-125, September.
    5. Catão, Luis A.V. & Fostel, Ana & Kapur, Sandeep, 2009. "Persistent gaps and default traps," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 271-284, July.
    6. Falko Juessen & Andreas Schabert, 2013. "Fiscal Policy, Sovereign Default, and Bailouts," Working Paper Series in Economics 67, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    7. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Chattopadhyay, Pradip, 2003. "Volatility and growth in developing economies: some numerical results and empirical evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 267-295, March.
    8. Theo S. Eicher & Stephen J. Turnovsky & Uwe Walz, 2000. "Optimal Policy for Financial Market Liberalizations: Decentralization and Capital Flow Reversals," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 19-42, February.
    9. Belloc, Marianna & Federici, Daniela, 2010. "A two-country NATREX model for the euro/dollar," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 315-335, March.
    10. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2006. "Sovereign Debt: Indexation and Maturity," Research Department Publications 4459, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    11. Mohr, Ernst, 1992. "The impact of sovereign intertemporal trade and cross-default clauses on the sustainability and efficiency of environmental treaties," Kiel Working Papers 522, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    12. Konstantakis, Konstantinos N. & Michaelides, Panayotis G., 2014. "Transmission of the debt crisis: From EU15 to USA or vice versa? A GVAR approach," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 115-132.
    13. Harold L. Cole & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1996. "Reputation Spillover Across Relationships with Enduring and Transient Beliefs: Reviving reputation Models of Debt," NBER Working Papers 5486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Tavares, Tiago, 2019. "Labor market distortions under sovereign debt default crises," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    15. Kaushik Basu, 1989. "The International Debt Problem: Could Someone Please Explain It to Me?," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-1989-078, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Sule Ozler, 1988. "Commercial Bank Lending to Developing Countries: The Question of Overlending," UCLA Economics Working Papers 500, UCLA Department of Economics.
    17. Amnon Levy, 1997. "Sovereign debt: Reputation, seizure and reputation," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 21(1), pages 69-79, March.
    18. Niepelt, Dirk, 2014. "Debt maturity without commitment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S), pages 37-54.
    19. Ana L Fostel & Sandeep Kapur & Luis Catão, 2007. "Persistent Gaps, Volatility Types, and Default Traps," IMF Working Papers 2007/148, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1673. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.