IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/2394.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Til Debt Do Us Part: The U.S. Capital Market and Foreign Lending, 1920-1955

Author

Listed:
  • Barry Eichengreen

Abstract

This paper analyzes U.S. experience with foreign lending in the half-century from 1920. A first question raised by this experience is what ignited the process of U.S. foreign lending. I conclude that lending was restrained at the beginning of the period by the debt overhang associated with reparations and by the post World War I disruption of international trade. Intervention by creditor country governments in the form of the Dawes Loan, League of Nations loans to Central Europe and reconstruction of the gold standard system was needed to initiate long-term capital flows. A second question is how to characterize the operation of the U.S. capital market once lending was again underway. I find that while lenders discriminated among potential borrowers and demanded compensation for default risk, they did so insufficiently. Neither an efficient-markets nor a fads-and-fashions model provides an adequate characterization of the data. A third question is whether default in the 1930s made it more difficult for countries to borrow in the 1940s and 1950s. I find no evidence that countries which interrupted debt service in the 1930s found it more difficult to borrow subsequently than did countries which maintained debt service continuously. Rather, default reduced access to private portfolio capital flows for defaulting and nondefaulting countries alike.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen, 1987. "Til Debt Do Us Part: The U.S. Capital Market and Foreign Lending, 1920-1955," NBER Working Papers 2394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2394
    Note: ITI IFM
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2394.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Yawitz, Jess B., 1977. "An Analytical Model of Interest Rate Differentials and Different Default Recoveries," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 481-490, September.
    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. Robert E. Lipsey & Mario Schimberni & Robert V. Lindsay, 1988. "Changing Patterns of International Investment in and by the United States," NBER Chapters,in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 475-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. White, Eugene Nelson, 1986. "Before the Glass-Steagall Act: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 33-55, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Viral V. Acharya & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2013. "Sovereign Debt, Government Myopia, and the Financial Sector," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(6), pages 1526-1560.
    2. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-178, February.

    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:2394. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://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.