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Resolving sovereign debt crises: Opening or closing the tap?

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  • Kohler, Wilhelm

Abstract

This paper first describes the ingredients the present crisis in the euro zone and then evaluates the key options that policy makers face in resolving the crisis and avoiding similar crises in the future. I argue that the crisis should not be seen as caused by government profligacy alone. In many troubled countries, an unsustainable build-up of private sector debt was involved as well. I argue that a more fundamental problem is that the euro zone lacks an adjustment mechanism for balance of payments crises that may arise in its member countries, with or without excessive government deficits. The metaphor of taps to be opened or closed by policy is used to discuss the core trade offs that policy makers face. I discuss monetary taps, bailout taps, austerity taps and devaluation taps. I propose a simple model of government bond markets with sovereign insolvency to be used in order to evaluate EU-type bailouts. I discuss the pros and cons of austerity as a precondition for such bailouts, and I criticize the use of Target2 as a mechanism to absorb balance of national payments crises.

Suggested Citation

  • Kohler, Wilhelm, 2012. "Resolving sovereign debt crises: Opening or closing the tap?," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 39, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuewef:39
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/59507/1/717850269.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hans-Werner Sinn & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2012. "Target loans, current account balances and capital flows: the ECB’s rescue facility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 468-508, August.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
    3. Daniel Leigh & Andrea Pescatori & Jaime Guajardo, 2011. "Expansionary Austerity New International Evidence," IMF Working Papers 11/158, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Hogrefe, Jan & Jung, Benjamin & Kohler, Wilhelm K., 2010. "Readdressing the trade effect of the Euro: Allowing for currency misalignment," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-023, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Volker Grossmann, 2011. "Wirkungen und Nebenwirkungen des EU/IWF-Rettungsschirms für verschuldete Euroländer," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 91(3), pages 179-185, March.
    6. Paul De Grauwe, 2012. "The Governance of a Fragile Eurozone," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 45(3), pages 255-268, September.
    7. Paul De Grauwe & Yuemei Ji, 2012. "Mispricing of Sovereign Risk and Multiple Equilibria in the Eurozone," LICOS Discussion Papers 30412, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    8. Jay C. Shambaugh, 2012. "The Euro's Three Crises," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(1 (Spring), pages 157-231.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia M. Buch, 2013. "From the Stability Pact to ESM - What Next?," Chapters, in: Andreas Dombret & Otto Lucius (ed.), Stability of the Financial System, chapter 5, Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Euro; Sovereign risk; Sovereign default; Government solvency; Lender of last resort; External balance; Balance of payments;

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

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