Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- and Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 211 Abstract:
We characterize the values of government debt and the debt’s maturity structure under which financial crises brought on by a loss of confidence in the government can arise within a dynamic, stochastic general equilibrium model. We also characterize the optimal policy response of the government to the threat of such a crisis. We show that when the country’s fundamentals place it inside the crisis zone, the government is motivated to reduce its debt and exit the crisis zone because this leads to an economic boom and a reduction in the interest rate on the government’s debt. We show that this reduction may be quite gradual if debt is high or the probability of a crisis is low. We also show that, while lengthening the maturity of the debt can shrink the crisis zone, credibility-inducing policies can have perverse effects.
Subject (JEL): H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
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, Debt crises, Sudden stops, and Tax flexibility Subject (JEL): K10 - Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law), F30 - International Finance: General, and H70 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations: General
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: Debt crisis, Tax reforms, and Sovereign default Subject (JEL): F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Ayres, João, Navarro, Gaston, Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 757 Abstract:
We explore quantitatively the possibility of multiple equilibria in a model of sovereign debt crises. The source of multiplicity is the one identified by Calvo (1988). This type of multiplicity has been at the heart of the policy debate through the recent European sovereign debt crisis. Key for multiplicity in the model is a stochastic process for output featuring long periods of either high or low growth. We calibrate the output process in the model using data for the southern European countries that were exposed to the debt crisis. We find that expectations-driven sovereign debt crises are empirically plausible, but only in periods of stagnation. Multiplicity is state dependent: in periods of stagnation and for intermediate levels of debt, interest rates may be high for reasons unrelated to fundamentals.
Keyword: Good and bad times, Multiplicity, Sovereign default, Self-fulfilling debt crises, and Stagnation Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy and F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
Creator: Conesa, Juan Carlos and Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 465 Abstract:
We develop a model for analyzing the sovereign debt crises of 2010–2013 in the Eurozone. The government sets its expenditure-debt policy optimally. The need to sell large quantities of bonds every period leaves the government vulnerable to self-fulfilling crises in which investors, anticipating a crisis, are unwilling to buy the bonds, thereby provoking the crisis. In this situation, the optimal policy of the government is to reduce its debt to a level where crises are not possible. If, however, the economy is in a recession where there is a positive probability of recovery in fiscal revenues, the government also has an incentive to smooth consumption and increase debt. Our exercise identifies conditions on fundamentals for which the incentive to smooth consumption dominates, giving rise to a situation where governments optimally “gamble for redemption,” running fiscal deficits and increasing their debt, thereby increasing their vulnerability to crises.
Keyword: Recession, Debt crisis, Rollover crisis, and Eurozone Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, F44 - International Business Cycles, and H13 - Economics of Eminent Domain; Expropriation; Nationalization
Creator: Bianchi, Javier and Mondragon, Jorge Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 755 Abstract:
This paper shows that the inability to use monetary policy for macroeconomic stabilization leaves a government more vulnerable to a rollover crisis. We study a sovereign default model with self-fulfilling rollover crises, foreign currency debt, and nominal rigidities. When the government lacks monetary autonomy, lenders anticipate that the government will face a severe recession in the event of a liquidity crisis, and are therefore more prone to run on government bonds. By contrast, a government with monetary autonomy can stabilize the economy and can easily remain immune to a rollover crisis. In a quantitative application, we find that the lack of monetary autonomy played a central role in making the Eurozone vulnerable to a rollover crisis. A lender of last resort can help ease the costs from giving up monetary independence.
Keyword: Sovereign debt crises, Rollover risk, and Monetary unions Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, G15 - International Financial Markets, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General
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: Renegotiation, European debt crisis, Contagion, Self-fulfilling crisis, and Sovereign default Subject (JEL): F30 - International Finance: General and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Aguiar, Mark and Amador, Manuel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 565 Abstract:
We establish that creditor beliefs regarding future borrowing can be self-fulfilling, leading to multiple equilibria with markedly different debt accumulation patterns. We characterize such indeterminacy in the Eaton-Gersovitz sovereign debt model augmented with long maturity bonds. Two necessary conditions for the multiplicity are: (i) the government is more impatient than foreign creditors, and (ii) there are deadweight losses from default; both are realistic and standard assumptions in the quantitative literature. The multiplicity is dynamic and stems from the self-fulfilling beliefs of how future creditors will price bonds; long maturity bonds are therefore a crucial component of the multiplicity. We introduce a third party with deep pockets to discuss the policy implications of this source of multiplicity and identify the potentially perverse consequences of traditional “lender of last resort” policies.
Keyword: Debt dilution, Sovereign debt, Multiple equilibria, and Self-fulfilling debt crises Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
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: Sovereign risk, Emerging markets, Debt crises, and Debt restructuring Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Bocola, Luigi Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 722 Abstract:
This paper examines the macroeconomic implications of sovereign credit risk in a business cycle model where banks are exposed to domestic government debt. The news of a future sovereign default hampers financial intermediation. First, it tightens the funding constraints of banks, reducing their available resources to finance firms (liquidity channel). Second, it generates a precautionary motive for banks to deleverage (risk channel). I estimate the model using Italian data, finding that i) sovereign credit risk was recessionary and that ii) the risk channel was sizable. I then use the model to evaluate the effects of subsidized long term loans to banks, calibrated to the ECB’s longer-term refinancing operations. The presence of strong precautionary motives at the time of policy enactment implies that bank lending to firms is not very sensitive to these credit market interventions.
Keyword: Credit policies, Financial constraints, and Sovereign debt crises Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and G01 - Financial Crises