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Crisis and Commitment: Inflation Credibility and the Vulnerability to Sovereign Debt Crises

Author

Listed:
  • Mark Aguiar
  • Manuel Amador
  • Emmanuel Farhi
  • Gita Gopinath

Abstract

We propose a continuous time model of nominal debt and investigate the role of inflation credibility in the potential for self-fulfilling debt crises. Inflation is costly, but reduces the real value of outstanding debt without the full punishment of default. With high inflation credibility, which can be interpreted as joining a monetary union or issuing foreign currency debt, debt is effectively real. By contrast, with low inflation credibility, sovereign debt is nominal and in a debt crisis a government may opt to inflate away a fraction of the debt burden rather than explicitly default. This flexibility potentially reduces the country's exposure to self-fulfilling crises. On the other hand, the government lacks credibility not to inflate in the absence of crisis. This latter channel raises the cost of debt in tranquil periods and makes default more attractive in the event of a crisis, increasing the country's vulnerability. We characterize the interaction of these two forces. We show that there is an intermediate inflation credibility that minimizes the country's exposure to rollover risk. Low inflation credibility brings the worst of both worlds--high inflation in tranquil periods and increased vulnerability to a crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Emmanuel Farhi & Gita Gopinath, 2013. "Crisis and Commitment: Inflation Credibility and the Vulnerability to Sovereign Debt Crises," NBER Working Papers 19516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19516
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    2. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
    3. Du, Wenxin & Schreger, Jesse, 2013. "Local Currency Sovereign Risk," International Finance Discussion Papers 1094, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. José-María Da-Rocha & Eduardo-Luis Giménez & Francisco-Xavier Lores, 2013. "Self-fulfilling crises with default and devaluation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 53(3), pages 499-535, August.
    5. 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. Carmen M. Reinhart & Miguel Angel Santos, 2016. "From Financial Repression to External Distress: The Case of Venezuela," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(2), pages 255-284, February.
    2. Patrick Bolton & Haizhou Huang, 2017. "The Capital Structure of Nations," NBER Working Papers 23612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Patrick J. Kehoe & Elena Pastorino, 2017. "Fiscal unions redux," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 64(4), pages 741-776, December.
    4. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Reinhart, Vincent & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2015. "Dealing with debt," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 43-55.
      • Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, 2014. "Dealing with Debt," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2014, pages 43-55 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Kobielarz, M.L. & Uras, R.B., 2015. "Sovereign Debt, Bail-Outs and Contagion in a Monetary Union," Discussion Paper 2015-018, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Trebesch, Christoph & Zabel, Michael, 2017. "The output costs of hard and soft sovereign default," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 416-432.
    7. Broner, Fernando & Erce, Aitor & Martin, Alberto & Ventura, Jaume, 2014. "Sovereign debt markets in turbulent times: Creditor discrimination and crowding-out effects," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 114-142.
    8. Galo Nuño & Carlos Thomas, 2015. "Monetary policy and sovereign debt vulnerability," Working Papers 1517, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    9. Seunghoon Na & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe & Vivian Z. Yue, 2014. "A Model of the Twin DS: Optimal Default and Devaluation," Emory Economics 1404, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    10. Szkup, Michal, 2017. "Preventing Self-fulfilling debt crises," MPRA Paper 82754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Francisco Roch & Harald Uhlig, 2016. "The Dynamics of Sovereign Debt Crises and Bailouts," IMF Working Papers 16/136, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Antoine Camous & Russell Cooper, 2014. "Monetary Policy and Debt Fragility," NBER Working Papers 20650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Tirole, Jean, 2012. "Country Solidarity, Private Sector Involvement and the Contagion of Sovereign Crises," IDEI Working Papers 761, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Sep 2012.
    14. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2493 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Patrick J. Kehoe & Elena Pastorino, 2017. "Financial Markets and Fiscal Unions," NBER Working Papers 23235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2016. "The Mystery Of The Printing Press: Monetary Policy And Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1329-1371, December.
    17. Kriwoluzky, Alexander & Müller, Gernot J. & Wolf, Martin, 2015. "Exit Expectations and Debt Crises in Currency Unions," IWH Discussion Papers 18/2015, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    18. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador, 2013. "Take the Short Route: How to Repay and Restructure Sovereign Debt with Multiple Maturities," NBER Working Papers 19717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. repec:eee:inecon:v:110:y:2018:i:c:p:119-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique Mendoza & Jing Zhang, 2015. "What is a Sustainable Public Debt?," PIER Working Paper Archive 15-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 16 Apr 2015.
    21. Christiaan Bochove, 2014. "External debt and commitment mechanisms: Danish borrowing in Holland, 1763–1825," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 652-677, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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