Sargent-Wallace Meets Krugman-Flood-Garber, or: Why Sovereign Debt Swaps Don't Avert Macroeconomic Crises
This paper argues that the frequent failure of the debt swaps is not an accident. Instead, it follows from fundamental forces driven by the market's assessment of the scarcity of fiscal revenue relative to the demand for fiscal outlays. It follows from the observation that arbitrage forces systematically impact prices in asset markets. Ignoring these price adjustments would lead to too optimistic an assessment of the gains from swaps or buybacks. A by-product of our paper is to highlight the perils of financial engineering that ignores the intertemporal constraints imposed by fiscal fundamentals. As a country approaches the range of partial default (either on domestic or external debt), swaps may not provide the expected breathing room and could even bring the crisis forward. Our methodology combines three independent themes: exchange rate crises as the manifestation of excessive monetary injections [Krugman-Flood-Garber], the fiscal theory of inflation [Sargent-Wallace (1981)], and sovereign debt. The integrated framework derives devaluation and external debt repudiation as part of a public-finance optimizing problem. We shows that under conditions similar to those which prevailed in Russia and Argentina prior to their meltdown, swaps are not just neutral, but could actually make the situation worse and even trigger a speculative attack. An unsettlingly clear implication of the model is that there may be very few options left once public debt reaches levels regarded as unsustainable in relation to fiscal fundamentals. Dollarization only makes matters worse, and pushes the debt write-down option to the fore.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Aizenman, Joshua, Kenneth M. Kletzer and Brian Pinto. "Sargent-Wallace Meets Krugman-Flood-Garber, Or: Why Sovereign Debt Swaps Do To Avert Macroeconomic Crises," Economic Journal, 2005, v115(503,Apr), 343-367.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kenneth Kang & Hong Liang & Henry Ma & Anthony J. Richards & Ajai Chopra & Meral Karasulu, 2001. "From Crisis to Recovery in Korea: Strategy, Achievements, and Lessons," IMF Working Papers 01/154, International Monetary Fund.
- Michael Mussa, 2002.
"Argentina and the Fund: From Triumph to Tragedy,"
Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics,
Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa67.
- Kenneth M. Kletzer & Brian D. Wright, 2000.
"Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter,"
- Kletzer, Kenneth M. & Wright, Brian D., 1998. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4qg3c42v, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Kenneth M. Kletzer and Brian D. Wright., 1998. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C98-100, University of California at Berkeley.
- Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996.
"Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
- Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-fulfilling Features," CEPR Discussion Papers 1315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-Fulfilling Features," NBER Working Papers 5285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Homi Kharas & Brian Pinto & Sergei Ulatov, 2001. "An Analysis of Russia's 1998 Meltdown: Fundamentals and Market Signals," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 1-68.
- Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
- Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
- Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1988. "The Buyback Boondoggle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 675-704.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9190. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.