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

Listed author(s):
  • Raquel Fernández
  • Alberto Martin

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20786.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20786.

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Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20786
Note: EFG IFM
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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.
  2. 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.
  3. Guido Sandleris, 2012. "The Costs of Sovereign Defaults:Theory and Empirical Evidence," Business School Working Papers 2012-02, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  4. 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.
  5. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2001. "Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Creation, and Financial Fragility: A Theory of Banking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 287-327, April.
  6. Buera, Francisco & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 2004. "Optimal maturity of government debt without state contingent bonds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 531-554, April.
  7. Patrick Bolton & Olivier Jeanne, 2007. "Structuring and Restructuring Sovereign Debt: The Role of a Bankruptcy Regime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 901-924, December.
  8. repec:oup:qjecon:v:132:y:2017:i:1:p:55-102. is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Olivier Jeanne & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2005. "The Mussa Theorem (and Other Results on IMF-Induced Moral Hazard)," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(si), pages 1-5.
  10. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
  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.
  13. Yue, Vivian Z., 2010. "Sovereign default and debt renegotiation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 176-187, March.
  14. Guido Lorenzoni & Ivan Werning, 2013. "Slow Moving Debt Crises," NBER Working Papers 19228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy with Noncontingent Debt and the Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131.
  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.
  17. Patrick Bolton & Olivier Jeanne, 2009. "Structuring and Restructuring Sovereign Debt: The Role of Seniority -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 879-902.
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