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Why are there Serial Defaulters? Evidence from Constitutions

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  • Kohlscheen, Emanuel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

Presidential democracies were 4.9 times more likely to default on external debts between 1976 and 2000 than parliamentary democracies. This paper argues that the explanation to the pattern of serial defaults among a number of sovereign borrowers lies in their constitutions. Ceteris paribus, parliamentary democracies are less likely to default on their liabilities as the confidence requirement creates a credible link between economic policies and the political survival of the executive. This link tends to strengthen the repayment commitment when politicians are opportunistic. I show that this effect is large and statistically significant in the contemporary world even when comparison is restricted to countries that are twins in terms of colonial origin, geography and economic variables. Moreover, the result persists if OECD or Latin American democracies are excluded from the sample. Since the form of government of a country is typically chosen at the time of independence and highly persistent over time, constitutions can explain why debt policies in developing countries are related to individual histories

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  • Kohlscheen, Emanuel, 2006. "Why are there Serial Defaulters? Evidence from Constitutions," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 755, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:755
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    2. Karatas, B., 2014. "Financial crisis and monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 41e463f0-e122-4379-8db5-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Christoph Trebesch, 2019. "Resolving sovereign debt crises: the role of political risk," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 421-444.
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    8. Emanuel Kohlscheen, 2010. "Domestic vs external sovereign debt servicing: an empirical analysis," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 93-103.
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    12. Cuadra, Gabriel & Sapriza, Horacio, 2008. "Sovereign default, interest rates and political uncertainty in emerging markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 78-88, September.
    13. Mr. Udaibir S Das & Mr. Michael G. Papaioannou & Christoph Trebesch, 2012. "Sovereign Debt Restructurings 1950-2010: Literature Survey, Data, and Stylized Facts," IMF Working Papers 2012/203, International Monetary Fund.
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    15. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Karatas, Bilge, 2013. "Three Sisters: The Interlinkage between Sovereign Debt, Currency and Banking Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 9369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    22. Jens Hilscher & Yves Nosbusch, 2010. "Determinants of Sovereign Risk: Macroeconomic Fundamentals and the Pricing of Sovereign Debt," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(2), pages 235-262.

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