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Leader Reputation and Default in Sovereign Debt

Author

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  • Dhillon, Amrita

    (University of Warwick)

  • Sjostrom, Tomas

    (Rutgers University)

Abstract

This paper compares default incentives in competitive sovereign debt markets when leaders can be either democratically elected or dictators. When leaders can be replaced as in democracies, the incentives for repayment are mainly the ego rents from office and the possibility of getting a corrupt leader from replacement. In a dictatorship, on the other hand, the cost of not repaying loans is the permanent loss of reputation and the loss of future access to credit. There is a trade off between repayment and risk sharing. We show, counter-intuitively, that when ego rents are low, and value of reputation to dictators is high, then democracies repay more often and have lower risk premia than dictatorships.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhillon, Amrita & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2009. "Leader Reputation and Default in Sovereign Debt," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 886, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:886
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    File URL: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2009/twerp_886.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eaton, Jonathan & Fernandez, Raquel, 1995. "Sovereign debt," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 3, pages 2031-2077 Elsevier.
    2. Michael Tomz & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Do Countries Default in "Bad Times" ?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 352-360, 04-05.
    3. Brian D. Wright & Kenneth M. Kletzer, 2000. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 621-639, June.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
    5. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
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