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Lending to the Poorest Countries: A New Counter-Cyclical Debt Instrument

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Cohen

    (OECD)

  • Hélène Djoufelkit-Cottenet

    (OECD)

  • Pierre Jacquet
  • Cécile Valadier

Abstract

One of the particular features of poor countries’ economies is their volatility, due mostly to their dependence on commodities. The paper shows that this volatility is a prime factor behind the debt crises of the poorest countries. It advocates the adoption by donors of a new lending instrument: the countercyclical loan (CCL). The key idea is to reduce the grace period of a typical concessional loan, from 10 to 5 years, and to keep the remaining grace periods as an asset that the country can draw upon, when a bad shock occurs. If no such bad shocks happen, or infrequently enough, the “floating grace” is redeemed to the country at the end of the loan as a repayment in advance without penalties. Une des caractéristiques des pays les plus pauvres est leur volatilité. Cet article montre que ce risque est l’un des facteurs essentiels qui explique les crises de dette de ces pays. A partir de ces résultats, l’article plaide en faveur de l’adoption par les bailleurs de fond d’un nouvel instrument de prêt : le prêt contra-cyclique (PCC). L’idée principale est de réduire la période de grâce d’un prêt concessionnel typique de 10 à 5 ans, et de garder les années de grâce restantes pour les utiliser en cas de mauvais choc. Si le pays ne subit aucun choc ou trop peu, cette « grâce flottante » est rendue au pays avant la fin du prêt, sous forme de remboursement anticipé sans pénalité.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Cohen & Hélène Djoufelkit-Cottenet & Pierre Jacquet & Cécile Valadier, 2008. "Lending to the Poorest Countries: A New Counter-Cyclical Debt Instrument," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 269, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:269-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/242606541087
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher L. Gilbert & Alexandra Tabova, 2004. "Commodity prices and debt sustainability," Department of Economics Working Papers 0404, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    2. Paul Cashin & C. John McCDermott, 2002. "The Long-Run Behavior of Commodity Prices: Small Trends and Big Variability," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 1-2.
    3. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Volatility and Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 243-287.
    4. Kevin Ross & R. Brooks & Robert Powell & Ydahlia A. Metzgen Quemarez & Doris C Ross & Mariano Cortes & Saqib Rizavi & Benoit Ketchekmen & Francesca Fornasari, 1998. "External Debt Histories of Ten Low-Income Developing Countries; Lessons from Their Experience," IMF Working Papers 98/72, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Reinhart, Carmen & Borenzstein, Eduardo & Khan, Mohsin & Wickham, Peter, 1994. "The Behavior of Non-Oil Commodity Prices," MPRA Paper 8198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Peter Wickham, 1994. "Commodity Prices: Cyclical Weakness or Secular Decline?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(2), pages 175-213, June.
    7. Jean-Francois Brun & Gérard Chambas & Bertrand Laporte, 2001. "Stabex versus IMF compensatory financing: impact on fiscal policy," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 571-581.
    8. 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.
    9. Bennett W Sutton & Luis Catão, 2002. "Sovereign Defaults; The Role of Volatility," IMF Working Papers 02/149, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Frot & Javier Santiso, 2008. "Development Aid and Portfolio Funds: Trends, Volatility and Fragmentation," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 275, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    chocs d’exportations; export Shocks; low income countries; Pays Pauvres; Prêts Concessionnels; Soft Loan;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid

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