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Dealing with Debt: The 1930s and the 1980s

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  • Barry Eichengreen and Richard Portes.

Abstract

The debt crisis of the 1930's illustrated the difficulty of global plans for resolving the debt crisis and underscored the importance of market-based debt-reduction schemes. The crisis of the 1980's differed in fundamental ways from that of the 1930's, but the earlier crisis illuminated the current crisis in several ways. The authors conclude that: (a) economic variables alone do not explain the incidence and extent of default; (b) implications of different debt-management strategies for macroeconomic performance remain difficult to isolate; (c) there is little evidence that countries that defaulted in the 1930's suffered reduced access to capital markets after World War II; and (d) the readjustment of defaulted debts entailed a protracted negotiation process. They further conclude that: (e) Government intervention in the 1930's and 1980's differs less in extent than direction in terms of pressure placed on debtors and creditors to maintain service on their debt; (f) global schemes to short-circuit the protracted process of bilateral negotiations proved unavailing; and (g) unlike global plans, market based debt reduction helped to resolve the debt crisis of the 1930's by reducing the overhang and eliminating marginal creditors.
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  • Barry Eichengreen and Richard Portes., 1989. "Dealing with Debt: The 1930s and the 1980s," Economics Working Papers 89-104, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:89-104
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    File URL: http://papers.nber.org/papers/W2867
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
    2. Sule Ozler, 1988. "Evolution of Commerical Bank Lending to Developing Countries," UCLA Economics Working Papers 497, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Barry Eichengreen and Richard Portes., 1988. "Settling Defaults in the Era of Bond Finance," Economics Working Papers 8885, University of California at Berkeley.
    4. Stanley Fischer, 1987. "Resolving the International Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 2373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1986. "The Anatomy of Financial Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo, 2017. "An Historical Perspective on the Quest for Financial Stability and the Monetary Policy Regime," Economics Working Papers 17108, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    2. Marc Flandreau & Juan H. Flores & Norbert Gaillard & Sebastián Nieto-Parra, 2010. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815-2007," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2009, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "The role of the IMF in recent sovereign debt restructurings: Implications for the policy of lending into arrears," Occasional Papers 0805, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    4. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Trebesch, Christoph, 2014. "A Distant Mirror of Debt, Default, and Relief," CEPR Discussion Papers 10195, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Relief And Its Aftermath," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 215-251, February.
    6. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "Recent episodes of sovereign debt restructurings. A case-study approach," Occasional Papers 0804, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    7. Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "The Economic And Ethical Ambiguities Of African Debt Forgiveness," Economics Research Institute, ERI Study Papers 28345, Utah State University, Economics Department.
    8. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz & de Hinestrosa, Patricia Armendariz, 1995. "Debt relief, growth and price stability in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 135-149, October.

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