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When is external debt sustainable?

  • Kraay, Aart
  • Nehru, Vikram

This paper examines the determinants of"debt distress,"which they define as periods in which countries resort to exceptional finance in any of three forms: (1) significant arrears on external debt, (2) Paris Club rescheduling, and (3) nonconcessional International Monetary Fund lending. Using probit regressions, the authors find that three factors explain a substantial fraction of the cross-country and time-series variation in the incidence of debt distress: the debt burden, the quality of policies and institutions, and shocks. They show that these results are robust to a variety of alternative specifications, and that their core specifications have substantial out-of-sample predictive power. The authors also explore the quantitative implications of these results for the lending strategies of official creditors.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3200.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3200
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  1. Axel Schimmelpfennig & Nouriel Roubini & Paolo Manasse, 2003. "Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises," IMF Working Papers 03/221, International Monetary Fund.
  2. 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.
  3. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Default, Currency Crises, and Sovereign Credit Ratings," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(2), pages 151-170, August.
  4. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity; Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
  6. Andrew Berg & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "The Debt Crisis: Structural Explanations of Country Performance," NBER Working Papers 2607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Lloyd-Ellis, H. & McKenzie, G. W. & Thomas, S. H., 1990. "Predicting the quantity of LDC debt rescheduling," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 67-73, January.
  9. Cohen, Daniel, 1996. "The sustainability of African debt," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1621, The World Bank.
  10. Nancy Birdsall & Stijn Claessens & Ishac Diwan, 2003. "Policy Selectivity Forgone: Debt and Donor Behavior in Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(3), pages 409-435, December.
  11. Lynn Aylward & Rupert Thorne, 1998. "An Econometric Analysis of Countries' Repayment Performance to the International Monetary Fund," IMF Working Papers 98/32, International Monetary Fund.
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