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Political Constraints and Sovereign Default Premia

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  • Mitra, Nirvana

Abstract

I study the relationship between political constraints and the probability of sovereign default on external debt using a dynamic stochastic model of fiscal policy augmented with legislative bargaining and default. I find that political constraints and default probability are inversely related if the output cost of default is not too high. The model government comprises legislators who bargain over policy instruments, including over a local public good that benefits only the regions they represent. Higher political constraints are equivalent to more legislators with veto power over fiscal policies. This implies that during a default, the released resources need to be distributed among more regions as local public goods, with a smaller benefit accruing to each region, discouraging default. However, if default is too costly, even governments with lower political constraints default less frequently. Empirical evidence from South American countries is consistent with this result. I calibrate the infinite horizon model to Argentina. It confirms the negative relationship. A counterfactual exercise with even higher political constraints shows that the default by Argentina in 2001 could not be avoided.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitra, Nirvana, 2020. "Political Constraints and Sovereign Default Premia," MPRA Paper 104172, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:104172
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sovereign debt; Default risk; Interest rates; Political economy; Minimum winning coalition; Endogenous borrowing constraints.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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