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External Debt and Political Instability

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  • Sule Ozler
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sule Ozler & Guido Tabellini, 1991. "External Debt and Political Instability," NBER Working Papers 3772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3772 Note: ITI ME IFM
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    1. Jeffrey Sachs & Daniel Cohen, 1982. "LDC Borrowing with Default Risk," NBER Working Papers 0925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Mark Gertler & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1989. "Developing country borrowing and domestic wealth," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. Diwan, Ishac & Verdier, Thierry, 1991. "Distributional aspects of debt adjustment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 657, The World Bank.
    8. 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.
    9. Ozler, Sule, 1989. "On the Relation between Reschedulings and Bank Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1117-1131, December.
    10. Cukierman, Alex & Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 537-555, June.
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