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Optimal external debt and default

  • Bernardo Guimaraes

    (LSE)

This paper analyses whether sovereign default episodes can be seen as contingencies of optimal international lending contracts. The model considers a small open economy with capital accumulation and without commitment to repay debt. Taking first order approximations of Bellman equations, I derive analytical expressions for the equilibrium level of debt and the optimal debt contract. In this environment, debt relief generated by reasonable fluctuations in productivity is an order of magnitude below that generated by shocks to world interest rates. Debt relief prescribed by the model following the interest rate hikes of 1980-81 accounts for a substantial part of the debt forgiveness obtained by the main Latin American countries through the Brady agreements.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 104.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:104
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Zame, William R, 1993. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets Are Incomplete," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1142-64, December.
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  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 155-78, February.
  5. Fernandez, Raquel & Rosenthal, Robert W, 1990. "Strategic Models of Sovereign-Debt Renegotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 331-49, July.
  6. Barro, Robert J. & Mankiw, N Gregory & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1994. "Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Martin Uribe & Vivian Z. Yue, 2003. "Country Spreads and Emerging Countries: Who Drives Whom?," NBER Working Papers 10018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  9. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do countries default in “bad times”?," Working Paper Series 2007-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Stefano G. Athanasoulis & Robert J. Shiller, 1999. "World Income Components: Measuring and Exploiting Risk-Sharing Opportunities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1239, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  11. Bai, Yan & Zhang, Jing, 2012. "Financial integration and international risk sharing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 17-32.
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  14. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Kaminsky, Graciela L., 1991. "Debt relief and debt rescheduling : The optimal-contract approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 5-36, July.
  15. Cohen, Daniel & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1986. "Growth and external debt under risk of debt repudiation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 529-560, June.
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  17. Marcet, Albert & Marimon, Ramon, 1992. "Communication, commitment, and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 219-249, December.
  18. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "Serial Default and the "Paradox" of Rich to Poor Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 10296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2004. "The Elusive Gains From International Financial Integration," IMF Working Papers 04/74, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Vivian Z. Yue, 2005. "Sovereign Default and Debt Renegotiation," 2005 Meeting Papers 138, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Carlos F. Diaz-Alejandro, 1984. "Latin American Debt: I Don't Think We Are in Kansas Anymore," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 335-403.
  22. Kletzer, K.M. & Newbery, D.M., 1991. "Smoothing Primary Exporters' Price Risks: Bonds, Futures, Options and Insurance," Papers 647, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  23. Francesco Caselli & James Feyrer, 2006. "The marginal product of capital," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3560, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  24. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315.
  25. Alfaro, Laura & Kanczuk, Fabio, 2005. "Sovereign debt as a contingent claim: a quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 297-314, March.
  26. Karsten Jeske, 2006. "Private International Debt with Risk of Repudiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 576-593, June.
  27. Atkeson, Andrew, 1991. "International Lending with Moral Hazard and Risk of Repudiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1069-89, July.
  28. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
  29. Dotsey, Michael & Lantz, Carl & Scholl, Brian, 2003. " The Behavior of the Real Rate of Interest," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(1), pages 91-110, February.
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  34. repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Eduardo Borensztein & Paolo Mauro, 2004. "The case for GDP-indexed bonds," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 165-216, 04.
  36. Natalia Kovrijnykh & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "Equilibrium Default Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 403-446.
  37. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2004. "Serial Default and the “Paradox†of Rich-to-Poor Capital Flows," Scholarly Articles 11129182, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  38. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
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