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Unpleasant surprises : sovereign default determinants and prospects

  • Bandiera, Luca
  • Cuaresma, Jesus Crespo
  • Vincelette, Gallina A.

This paper uses model averaging techniques to identify robust predictors of sovereign default episodes on a pooled database for 46 emerging economies over the period 1980-2004. Sovereign default episodes are defined according to Standard&Poor’s or by non-concessional International Monetary Fund loans in excess of 100 percent of the country’s quota. The authors find that, in addition to the level of indebtedness, the quality of policies and institutions is the best predictor of default episodes in emerging market countries with relatively low levels of external debt. For emerging market countries with a higher level of debt, macroeconomic stability plays a robust role in explaining differences in default probabilities. The paper provides evidence that model averaging can improve out-of-sample prediction of sovereign defaults, and draws policy conclusions for the current crisis based on the results.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5401.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5401
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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. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Gernot Doppelhofer, 2006. "Nonlinearities in Cross-Country Growth Regressions: A Bayesian Averaging of Thresholds (BAT) Approach," Vienna Economics Papers 0608, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  3. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark Steel, 1999. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Econometrics 9903003, EconWPA, revised 06 Oct 2001.
  4. Marco Fioramanti, 2006. "Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises Using Artificial Neural Networks: A Comparative Approach," ISAE Working Papers 72, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
  5. Winford H. Masanjala & Chris Papageorgiou, 2008. "Rough and lonely road to prosperity: a reexamination of the sources of growth in Africa using Bayesian model averaging," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 671-682.
  6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-78, May.
  7. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973, April.
  8. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth & Savastano, Miguel, 2003. "Debt intolerance," MPRA Paper 13932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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