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External Debt and Political Instability

  • Sule Ozler
  • Guido Tabellini

This paper studies theoretically and empirically the role of domestic political incentives in the accumulation of large external debts by developing countries during 1972-81. The theoretical model characterizes two equilibrium regimes. In one regime the borrower is on its demand curve and changes in the loan size demand are accommodated by the lenders. In the other regime the borrower is credit rationed, and the loan size is determined by the perceived country risk. Higher political instability increases the equilibrium loan size in the first regime and decreases it in the second. Using out-of-sample of evidence, we identify the two regimes in the data. We then find that in the unconstrained regime political instability has a significant positive effect on the loan size, whereas it has no significant effect in the credit rationing regime. Hence the evidence indicates a positive effect of political instability on the demand for sovereign loans, as predicted by the theory.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3772.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3772.

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Date of creation: Jul 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3772
Note: ITI ME IFM
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  1. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Scholarly Articles 12491028, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Mark Gertler & Kenneth Rogoff, 1989. "Developing country borrowing and domestic wealth," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Cukierman, Alex & Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 537-55, June.
  4. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Capital mobility in the world economy: Theory and measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 55-103, January.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1989. "External debt, capital flight and political risk," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3-4), pages 199-220, November.
  6. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  7. Diwan, Ishac & Verdier, Thierry, 1991. "Distributional aspects of debt adjustment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 657, The World Bank.
  8. Ozler, Sule, 1989. "On the Relation between Reschedulings and Bank Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1117-31, December.
  9. Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A., 1987. "The external debt repayments problems of LDC's : An econometric model based on panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 205-230.
  10. Jeffrey Sachs & Daniel Cohen, 1982. "LDC Borrowing with Default Risk," NBER Working Papers 0925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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