Default risk and economic activity: A small open economy model with sovereign debt and default
Empirical evidence shows that sovereign defaults are associated with significant declines in economic activity in defaulting countries. However, the existing literature on sovereign debt and default mainly analyzes endowment economies and, therefore, does not speak for the interaction between default risk and macroeconomic dynamics. This paper develops a small open economy model with financial frictions, within which output and default risk are jointly determined, that allows to simultaneously examine the behavior of output, consumption and investment and their interaction with sovereign debt and default. When calibrated to match the business cycles properties of an average emerging market economy, the model is able to reproduce the countercyclicality of net exports, the countercyclicality of sovereign spreads and the negative correlation between investment and net exports observed in the data. Furthermore, when analyzing its dynamics around default episodes, the model captures the declines in output, consumption and investment that accompany sovereign defaults.
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