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Individual enforcement rights in international sovereign bonds


  • Häseler, Sönke


Sovereign bond contracts are notoriously hard to enforce. The few rights that bondholders have can be vested either collectively or individually. It seems that investors traditionally had a preference for the latter, which hindered financial market reform projects, such as the universal adoption of collective action clauses or trust structures. This paper discusses theoretically and empirically whether it is indeed in the bondholders’ collective interest to be allowed to individually sue and attach the debtor country’s assets following a default. Market reaction to the landmark case of Elliott Associates v. Peru is tested to assess just how much bondholders actually value individual enforcement rights. It is found that even the single most important event to reinforce creditor rights in recent years provoked no systematic movement in bond prices. We thus conclude that perhaps the importance of individual enforcement rights to the markets has been exaggerated and we therefore recommend ignoring any opposition from market participants that may arise during the necessary transition to more collective enforcement rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Häseler, Sönke, 2011. "Individual enforcement rights in international sovereign bonds," MPRA Paper 35331, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35331

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marcus Miller & Dania Thomas, 2007. "Sovereign Debt Restructuring: The Judge, the Vultures and Creditor Rights," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(10), pages 1491-1509, October.
    2. Eduardo Borensztein & Ugo Panizza, 2009. "The Costs of Sovereign Default," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(4), pages 683-741, November.
    3. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
    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. Sturzenegger, Federico & Zettelmeyer, Jeromin, 2008. "Haircuts: Estimating investor losses in sovereign debt restructurings, 1998-2005," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 780-805, September.
    6. Rose, Andrew K., 2005. "One reason countries pay their debts: renegotiation and international trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 189-206, June.
    7. Michael Bradley & James D. Cox & Mitu Gulati, 2010. "The Market Reaction to Legal Shocks and Their Antidotes: Lessons from the Sovereign Debt Market," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 289-324, January.
    8. Gande, Amar & Parsley, David C., 2005. "News spillovers in the sovereign debt market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 691-734, March.
    9. Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2005. "Supersanctions and Sovereign Debt Repayment," NBER Working Papers 11472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Michael P. Dooley, 2000. "Can Output Losses Following International Financial Crises be Avoided?," NBER Working Papers 7531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Michelle White, 2002. "Sovereigns in Distress: Do They Need Bankruptcy?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(1), pages 287-320.
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    More about this item


    sovereign bonds; enforcement rights; Elliott Associates; Peru; collective action clauses; fiscal agent; trustee;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law

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