IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The overhang hangover

  • Jean Imbs
  • Romain Rancière

We revisit the debt overhang question. We first use non-parametric techniques to isolate a panel of countries on the downward sloping section of a debt Laffer curve. In particular, overhang countries are ones where a threshold level of debt is reached in sample, beyond which (initial) debt ends up lowering (subsequent)growth. On average, significantly negative coefficients appear when debt face value reaches 60 percent of GDP or 200 percent of exports, and when its present value reaches 40 percent of GDP or 140 percent of exports. Second, we depart from reduced form growth regressions and perform direct tests of the theory on the thus selected sample of overhang countries. In the spirit of event studies, we ask whether, as overhang level of debt is reached: (i)investment falls precipitously as it should when it becomes optimal to default, (ii) economic policy deteriorates observably, as it should when debt contracts become unable to elicit effort on the part of the debtor, and (iii) the terms of borrowing worsen noticeably, as they should when it becomes optimal for creditors to pre-empt default and exact punitive interest rates. We find a systematic response of investment, particularly when property rights are weakly enforced, some worsening of the policy environment, and a fall in interest rates. This easing of borrowing conditions happens because lending by the private sector virtually disappears in overhang situations, and multilateral agencies step in with concessional rates. Thus, while debt relief is likely to improve economic policy (and especially investment) in overhang countries, it is doubtful that it would ease their terms of borrowing, or the burden of debt.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://econ-papers.upf.edu/papers/878.pdf
File Function: Whole Paper
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 878.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:878
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1988. "External Debt, Capital Flight and Political Risk," NBER Working Papers 2610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
  4. anonymous, 1995. "Does the bouncing ball lead to economic growth?," Regional Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Jul, pages 1-2, 4-6.
  5. Serkan Arslanalp & Peter Blair Henry, 2004. "Is Debt Relief Efficient?," NBER Working Papers 10217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  7. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  8. Serkan Arslanalp & Peter Blair Henry, 2006. "Debt Relief," NBER Working Papers 12187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Arslanalp, Serkan & Henry, Peter B., 2006. "Debt Relief," Research Papers 1931, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  9. Cohen, Daniel, 1993. "Low Investment and Large LDC Debt in the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 437-49, June.
  10. Easterly, william, 2001. "Growth implosions, debt explosions, and my Aunt Marilyn : do growth slowdowns cause public debt crises?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2531, The World Bank.
  11. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, March.
  12. Andres Velasco, 1997. "A Model of Endogenous Fiscal Deficits and Delayed Fiscal Reforms," NBER Working Papers 6336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
  14. Toan Quoc Nguyen & Benedict J. Clements & Rina Bhattacharya, 2003. "External Debt, Public Investment, and Growth in Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 03/249, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Helene Poirson Ward & Luca A Ricci & Catherine A Pattillo, 2002. "External Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 02/69, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Daniel Cohen & Jeffrey Sachs, 1985. "Growth and External Debt Under Risk of Debt Repudiation," NBER Working Papers 1703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Andrew M. Warner, 1992. "Did the Debt Crisis Cause the Investment Crisis?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1161-1186.
  18. William Hauk & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "A Monte Carlo study of growth regressions," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-147, June.
  19. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
  20. Cohen, Daniel, 1995. "Large external debt and (slow) domestic growth a theoretical analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(5-7), pages 1141-1163.
  21. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  22. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Transfers, social safety nets and economic growth," Economics Working Papers 139, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  23. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
  24. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
  25. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
  26. Helene Poirson Ward & Luca A Ricci & Catherine A Pattillo, 2004. "What Are the Channels Through Which External Debt Affects Growth?," IMF Working Papers 04/15, International Monetary Fund.
  27. repec:rus:hseeco:70719 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:878. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.