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The Political Economy of Sovereign Defaults

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  • Eugenia Andreasen
  • Guido Sandleris
  • Alejandro Van Der Ghote

Abstract

In times of crises, sovereign debt repayment typically depends on the implementation of fiscal programs. In order to implement these programs, governments usually need to garner some political support. The literature of sovereign defaults has not paid attention to the presence of political constraints, assuming instead, that governments have always unlimited access to the resources of the economy to repay their debts. In this paper, we analyze how the presence of political constraints affects sovereign governments´ borrowing and default decisions. We do so in a standard DSGE model with endogeneous default risk where we introduce two novel features: heterogeneous agents in the domestic private sector and a requirement that the government obtains some of their support to implement a fiscal program needed to repay the debt. In this framework, we show that there can be different types of sovereign default events. Default can arise because the government is unwilling to repay, in the best tradition of the sovereign debt literature, but also due to insufficient political support even if a benevolent government would prefer to repay.We calibrate the model to the Argentine economy and show that, once political constraints are taken into account, the matching with the data of standard sovereign debt models is weaker than previously understood.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugenia Andreasen & Guido Sandleris & Alejandro Van Der Ghote, 2011. "The Political Economy of Sovereign Defaults," Business School Working Papers 2011-07, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  • Handle: RePEc:udt:wpbsdt:2011-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Can DSGE models describe political cohesion?
      by Jason Rave in Macro Matters on 2012-05-29 02:41:00

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    Cited by:

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    2. Christoph Trebesch, 2019. "Resolving sovereign debt crises: the role of political risk," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 421-444.
    3. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2016. "Distributional Incentives In An Equilibrium Model Of Domestic Sovereign Default," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 7-44, February.
    4. Antonio Cusato Novelli, 2021. "Sovereign default, political instability and political fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 732-755, September.
    5. Gonçalves, Carlos Eduardo & Guimaraes, Bernardo, 2015. "Sovereign default risk and commitment for fiscal adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 68-82.
    6. repec:idb:brikps:82321 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Thomas Philippon & Francisco Roldán, 2018. "On the Optimal Speed of Sovereign Deleveraging with Precautionary Savings," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 66(2), pages 375-413, June.
    8. D’Erasmo, Pablo & Mendoza, Enrique G., 2021. "History remembered: Optimal sovereign default on domestic and external debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 969-989.
    9. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique Mendoza, 2011. "Optimal Domestic (and External) Sovereign Default," PIER Working Paper Archive 16-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 04 Aug 2016.
    10. Maren Froemel, 2014. "Imperfect Financial Markets and the Cyclicality of Social Spending," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2014-11, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    11. Scholl, Almuth, 2017. "The dynamics of sovereign default risk and political turnover," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 37-53.
    12. Farzana Alamgir & Alok Johri, 2022. "International Sovereign Spread Differences and the Poverty of Nations," Department of Economics Working Papers 2022-06, McMaster University.
    13. Guido Sandleris, 2016. "The Costs of Sovereign Default: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 1-27, April.
    14. Steenkamp, Daan & Havemann, Roy & Hollander, Hylton, 2022. "The macroeconomics of establishing a basic income grant in South Africa," MPRA Paper 114614, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Carlo de Bassa & Edoardo Grillo & Francesco Passarelli, 2021. "Sanctions and incentives to repudiate external debt," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 33(2), pages 198-224, April.
    16. Mr. Andrea F Presbitero & Lamin Njie & Mr. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji & Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, 2015. "International Sovereign Bonds by Emerging Markets and Developing Economies: Drivers of Issuance and Spreads," IMF Working Papers 2015/275, International Monetary Fund.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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