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The Long and the Short of It: Sovereign Debt Crises and Debt Maturity

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  • Raquel Fernández
  • Alberto Martin

Abstract

We present a simple model of sovereign debt crises in which a country chooses its optimal mix of short and long-term bonds subject to standard contracting frictions: the country cannot commit to repay its debts nor to a specific path of future debt issues, and contracts cannot be made state contingent nor renegotiated. We show that, in order to reduce incentives to engage in debt dilution, the country must issue short-term debt. This exposes it to roll-over crises and inefficient repayments. We examine the effects of alternative restructuring regimes, which either write-down debt or extend its maturity in the event of crises, and show that both necessarily improve ex ante welfare if they do not decrease expected payments to creditors during crises. In particular, we show that the way in which these regimes redistribute payments between short- and long-term creditors, which has been a central point in recent policy debates, is inconsequential.

Suggested Citation

  • Raquel Fernández & Alberto Martin, 2014. "The Long and the Short of It: Sovereign Debt Crises and Debt Maturity," NBER Working Papers 20786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20786
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cristina Arellano & Ananth Ramanarayanan, 2012. "Default and the Maturity Structure in Sovereign Bonds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(2), pages 187-232.
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    11. 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.
    12. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Guimaraes, Bernardo & Roubini, Nouriel, 2006. "International lending of last resort and moral hazard: A model of IMF's catalytic finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 441-471, April.
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    16. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2017. "Optimal Time-Consistent Government Debt Maturity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(1), pages 55-102.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mattia Osvaldo Picarelli, 2016. "Debt Overhang and Sovereign Debt Restructuring," Working Papers 9/16, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    2. Juan Sanchez & Rodolfo Manuelli, 2016. "Endogenous Debt Maturity: Liquidity Risk vs. Default Risk," 2016 Meeting Papers 1435, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Tamon Asonuma & Dirk Niepelt & Romain Rancière, 2017. "Sovereign Bond Prices, Haircuts and Maturity," NBER Working Papers 23864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:243-259 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2014. "A Distant Mirror of Debt, Default, and Relief," NBER Working Papers 20577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Tamon Asonuma & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Restructurings: Preemptive Or Post-Default," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 175-214, February.
    7. Leonardo Martinez & Juan Hatchondo, 2017. "Sovereign Cocos and the Reprofiling of Debt Payments," 2017 Meeting Papers 1435, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. repec:cup:macdyn:v:22:y:2018:i:02:p:470-500_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Relief And Its Aftermath," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 215-251, February.
    10. Farhi, Emmanuel & Tirole, Jean, 2015. "Deadly Embrace: Sovereign and Financial Balance Sheets Doom Loops," CEPR Discussion Papers 11024, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Damiano Sandri, 2015. "Dealing with Systemic Sovereign Debt Crises; Fiscal Consolidation, Bail-ins or Official Transfers?," IMF Working Papers 15/223, International Monetary Fund.

    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
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

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