Creator: Arellano, Cristina and Heathcote, Jonathan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 385 Abstract:
How does a country’s choice of exchange rate regime impact its ability to borrow from abroad? We build a small open economy model in which the government can potentially respond to shocks via domestic monetary policy and by international borrowing. We assume that debt repayment must be incentive compatible when the default punishment is equivalent to permanent exclusion from debt markets. We compare a floating regime to full dollarization.
We find that dollarization is potentially beneficial, even though it means the loss of the monetary instrument, precisely because this loss can strengthen incentives to maintain access to debt markets. Given stronger repayment incentives, more borrowing can be supported, and thus dollarization can increase international financial integration. This prediction of theory is consistent with the experiences of El Salvador and Ecuador, which recently dollarized, as well as with that of highly-indebted countries like Italy which adopted the Euro as part of Economic and Monetary Union: in each case, around the time of regime change, spreads on foreign currency government debt declined substantially.
Keyword: Dollarization, Exchange rate regime, Borrowing limits, and Debt policy Subject (JEL): E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Zhang, Jing Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 392 Abstract:
This paper studies the impact of cross-country variation in financial market development on firms’ financing choices and growth rates using comprehensive firm-level datasets. We document that in less financially developed economies, small firms grow faster and have lower debt to asset ratios than large firms. We then develop a quantitative model where financial frictions drive firm growth and debt financing through the availability of credit and default risk. We parameterize the model to the firms’ financial structure in the data and show that financial restrictions can account for the majority of the difference in growth rates between firms of different sizes across countries.
Keyword: Firm investment and growth, Cross-country firm level dataset, and Default risk Subject (JEL): F20 - International Factor Movements and International Business: General and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Arellano, Cristina and Ramanarayanan, Ananth Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 410 Abstract:
This paper studies the maturity composition and the term structure of interest rate spreads of government debt in emerging markets. In the data, when interest rate spreads rise, debt maturity shortens and the spread on short-term bonds rises more than the spread on long-term bonds. To account for this pattern, we build a dynamic model of international borrowing with endogenous default and multiple maturities of debt. Long-term debt provides a hedge against future fluctuations in interest rate spreads, while short-term debt is more effective at providing incentives to repay. The trade-off between these hedging and incentive benefits is quantitatively important for understanding the maturity structure in emerging markets. When calibrated to data from Brazil, the model accounts for the dynamics in the maturity of debt issuances and its comovement with the level of spreads across maturities.
Keyword: Emerging markets, Default, and Debt maturity Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), F30 - International Finance: General, and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 466 Abstract:
The U.S. Great Recession featured a large decline in output and labor, tighter financial conditions, and a large increase in firm growth dispersion. We build a model in which increased volatility at the firm level generates a downturn and worsened credit conditions. The key idea is that hiring inputs is risky because financial frictions limit firms' ability to insure against shocks. An increase in volatility induces firms to reduce their inputs to reduce such risk. Out model can generate most of the decline in output and labor in the Great Recession and the observed increase in firms' interest rate spreads.
Keyword: Uncertainty shocks, Credit crunch, Great Recession, Firm credit spreads, Firm heterogeneity, Labor wedge, and Credit constraints Subject (JEL): E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, D52 - Incomplete Markets, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and D53 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Financial Markets
Creator: Arellano, Cristina and Bai, Yan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 491 Abstract:
We develop a multicountry model in which default in one country triggers default in other countries. Countries are linked to one another by borrowing from and renegotiating with common lenders. Countries default together because by doing so they can renegotiate the debt simultaneously and pay lower recoveries. Defaulting is also attractive in response to foreign defaults because the cost of rolling over the debt is higher when other countries default. Such forces are quantitatively important for generating a positive correlation of spreads and joint incidence of default. The model can rationalize some of the recent economic events in Europe as well as the historical patterns of defaults, renegotiations, and recoveries across countries.
Keyword: Self-fulfilling crisis, Sovereign default, European debt crisis, Contagion, and Renegotiation Subject (JEL): G01 - Financial Crises and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina and Bai, Yan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 495 Abstract:
This paper studies an optimal renegotiation protocol designed by a benevolent planner when two countries renegotiate with the same lender. The solution calls for recoveries that induce each country to default or repay, trading off the deadweight costs and the redistribution benefits of default independently of the other country. This outcome contrasts with a decentralized bargaining solution where default in one country increases the likelihood of default in the second country because recoveries are lower when both countries renegotiate. The paper suggests that policies geared at designing renegotiation processes that treat countries in isolation can prevent contagion of debt crises.
Keyword: Sovereign default, Contagion, and Renegotiation policy Subject (JEL): G01 - Financial Crises and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Atkeson, Andrew, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 515 Abstract:
The recent debt crises in Europe and the U.S. states feature similar sharp increases in spreads on government debt but also show important differences. In Europe, the crisis occurred at high government indebtedness levels and had spillovers to the private sector. In the United States, state government indebtedness was low, and the crisis had no spillovers to the private sector. We show theoretically and empirically that these different debt experiences result from the interplay between differences in the ability of governments to interfere in private external debt contracts and differences in the flexibility of state fiscal institutions.
Keyword: Interference with private contracts, Tax flexibility, Sudden stops, and Debt crises Subject (JEL): H70 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations: General, F30 - International Finance: General, and K10 - Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law)
Creator: Arellano, Cristina and Bai, Yan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 525 Abstract:
This paper constructs a dynamic model in which fiscal restrictions interact with government borrowing and default. The government faces fiscal constraints; it cannot adjust tax rates or impose lump-sum taxes on the private sector, but it can adjust public consumption and foreign debt. When foreign debt is sufficiently high, however, the government can choose to default to increase domestic public and private consumption by freeing up the resources used to pay the debt. Two types of defaults arise in this environment: fiscal defaults and aggregate defaults. Fiscal defaults occur because of the government's inability to raise tax revenues. Aggregate defaults occur even if the government could raise tax revenues; debt is simply too high to be sustainable. In a quantitative exercise calibrated to Greece, we find that our model can predict the recent default, but that increasing taxes would not have prevented it. In fact, increasing taxes would have made the recession deeper because of the distortionary effects of taxation.
Keyword: Sovereign default, Tax reforms, and Debt crisis Subject (JEL): F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, Bocola, Luigi, and test Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 547 Abstract:
This paper measures the output costs of sovereign risk by combining a sovereign debt model with firm- and bank-level data. In our framework, an increase in sovereign risk lowers the price of government debt and has an adverse impact on banks’ balance sheets, disrupting their ability to finance firms. Importantly, firms are not equally affected by these developments: those that have greater financing needs and borrow from banks that are more exposed to government debt cut their production the most in a debt crisis. We measure the extent of this heterogeneity using Italian data and parameterize the model to match these cross-sectional facts. In counterfactual analysis, we find that heightened sovereign risk was responsible for one-third of the observed output decline during the 2011-2012 crisis in Italy.
Keyword: Business cycles, Sovereign debt crises, Firm heterogeneity, Financial intermediation, and Micro data Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, and G15 - International Financial Markets
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Mihalache, Gabriel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 555 Abstract:
Sovereign debt crises are associated with large and persistent declines in economic activity, disproportionately so for nontradable sectors. This paper documents this pattern using Spanish data and builds a two-sector dynamic quantitative model of sovereign default with capital accumulation. Recessions are very persistent in the model and more pronounced for nontraded sectors because of default risk. An adverse domestic shock increases the likelihood of default, limits capital inﬂows, and thus restricts the ability of the economy to exploit investment opportunities. The economy responds by reducing investment and reallocating capital toward the traded sector to support debt service payments. The real exchange rate depreciates, a reﬂection of the scarcity of traded goods. We ﬁnd that these mechanisms are quantitatively important for rationalizing the experience of Spain during the recent debt crisis.
Keyword: Sovereign default with production economy, Capital accumulation, Traded and nontraded production, European debt crisis, and Real exchange rate Subject (JEL): E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data) and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Lizarazo, Sandra Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 559 Abstract:
We develop a theory of sovereign risk contagion based on financial links. In our multi-country model, sovereign bond spreads comove because default in one country can trigger default in other countries. Countries are linked because they borrow, default, and renegotiate with common lenders, and the bond price and recovery schedules for each country depend on the choices of other countries. A foreign default increases the lenders' pricing kernel, which makes home borrowing more expensive and can induce a home default. Countries also default together because by doing so they can renegotiate the debt simultaneously and pay lower recoveries. We apply our model to the 2012 debt crises of Italy and Spain and show that it can replicate the time path of spreads during the crises. In a counterfactual exercise, we find that the debt crisis in Spain (Italy) can account for one-half (one-third) of the increase in the bond spreads of Italy (Spain).
Keyword: Sovereign default, European debt crisis, Bond spreads, and Renegotiation Subject (JEL): G01 - Financial Crises and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Mateos-Planas, Xavier, and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 589 Abstract:
In the data sovereign default is always partial and varies in its duration. Debt levels during default episodes initially increase and do not experience reductions upon resolution. This paper presents a theory of sovereign default that replicates these properties, which are absent in standard sovereign default theory. Partial default is a flexible way to raise funds as the sovereign chooses its intensity and duration. Partial default is also costly because it amplifies debt crises as the defaulted debt accumulates and interest rate spreads increase. This theory is capable of rationalizing the large heterogeneity in partial default, its comovements with spreads, debt levels, and output, and the dynamics of debt during default episodes. In our theory, as in the data, debt grows during default episodes, and large defaults are longer, and associated with higher interest rate spreads, higher debt levels, and deeper recessions.
Keyword: Emerging markets, Debt restructuring, Debt crises, and Sovereign risk Subject (JEL): H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and G01 - Financial Crises