Creator: Atkeson, Andrew Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 381 Abstract:
This paper examines the optimal debt contract between lenders and a sovereign borrower when the borrower is free to repudiate the debt and when his decision to invest or consume borrowed funds is unobservable. We show that recurrent debt crises are a necessary part of the incentive structure which supports the optimal pattern of lending.
Keyword: Risk, Optimal debt contract, International capital, Foreign lending, Credit market, International loans, International debt, Debt crisis, and Moral hazard Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
Creator: Bianchi, Javier, Hatchondo, Juan Carlos, and Martinez, Leonardo Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 735 Abstract:
We study the optimal accumulation of international reserves in a quantitative model of sovereign default with long-term debt and a risk-free asset. Keeping higher levels of reserves provides a hedge against rollover risk, but this is costly because using reserves to pay down debt allows the government to reduce sovereign spreads. Our model, parameterized to mimic salient features of a typical emerging economy, can account for a significant fraction of the holdings of international reserves, and the larger accumulation of both debt and reserves in periods of low spreads and high income. We also show that income windfalls, improved policy frameworks, larger contingent liabilities, and an increase in the importance of rollover risk imply increases in the optimal holdings of reserves that are consistent with the upward trend in reserves in emerging economies. It is essential for our results that debt maturity exceeds one period.
Keyword: Safe assets, Rollover risk, Sovereign default, and International reserves Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, and F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
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: Bocola, Luigi and Lorenzoni, Guido Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 557 Abstract:
We study financial panics in a small open economy with floating exchange rates. In our model, bank runs trigger a decline in domestic wealth and a currency depreciation. Runs are more likely when banks have dollar debt. Dollar debt emerges endogenously in response to the precautionary motive of domestic savers: dollar savings provide insurance against crises; so when crises are possible it becomes relatively more expensive for banks to borrow in local currency, which gives them an incentive to issue dollar debt. This feedback between aggregate risk and savers’ behavior can generate multiple equilibria, with the bad equilibrium characterized by financial dollarization and the possibility of bank runs. A domestic lender of last resort can eliminate the bad equilibrium, but interventions need to be fiscally credible. Holding foreign currency reserves hedges the fiscal position of the government and enhances its credibility, thus improving financial stability.
Keyword: Lending of last resort, Foreign reserves, Financial crises, and Dollarization Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, G11 - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions, and G15 - International Financial Markets
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: Benjamin, David and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 753 Abstract:
Negotiations to restructure sovereign debt are time consuming, taking almost a decade on average to resolve. In this paper, we analyze a class of widely used complete information models of delays in sovereign debt restructuring and show that, despite superficial similarities, there are major differences across models in the driving force for equilibrium delay, the circumstances in which delay occurs, and the efficiency of the debt restructuring process. We focus on three key assumptions. First, if delay has a permanent effect on economic activity in the defaulting country, equilibrium delay often occurs; this delay can sometimes be socially efficient. Second, prohibiting debt issuance as part of a settlement makes delay less likely to occur in equilibrium. Third, when debt issuance is not fully state contingent, delay can arise because of the risk that the sovereign will default on any debt issued as part of the settlement.
Keyword: Bargaining, Sovereign debt, Sovereign default, and Delay Subject (JEL): H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and C78 - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
Creator: Aguiar, Mark and Amador, Manuel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 518 Abstract:
We study optimal fiscal policy in a small open economy (SOE) with sovereign and private default risk and limited commitment to tax plans. The SOE's government uses linear taxation to fund exogenous expenditures and uses public debt to inter-temporally allocate tax distortions. We characterize a class of environments in which the tax on labor goes to zero in the long run, while the tax on capital income may be non-zero, reversing the standard prediction of the Ramsey tax literature. The zero labor tax is an optimal long run outcome if the economy is subject to sovereign debt constraints and the domestic households are impatient relative to the international interest rate. The front loading of tax distortions allows the economy to build a large (aggregate) debt position in the presence of limited commitment. We show that a similar result holds in a closed economy with imperfect inter-generational altruism, providing a link with the closed-economy literature that has explored disagreement between the government and its citizens regarding inter-temporal tradeoffs.
Keyword: Sovereign debt, Fiscal policy, and Limited commitment Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E62 - Fiscal Policy, and F38 - International Financial Policy: Financial Transactions Tax; Capital Controls
Creator: Boyd, John H. and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 1954-2002 Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 522 Abstract:
We consider a two country growth model with international capital markets. These markets fund capital investment in both countries, and operate subject to a costly state verification (CSV) problem. Investors in each country require some external finance, but also provide internal finance, which mitigates the CSV problem. When two identical (except for their initial capital stocks) economies are closed, they necessarily converge monotonically to the same steady state output level. Unrestricted international financial trade precludes otherwise identical economies from converging, and poor countries are necessarily net lenders to rich countries. Oscillation in real activity and international capital flows can occur.
Keyword: CSV, Open economy, International lending, Costly state verification, Capital investment, Closed economy, Credit rationing, International capital markets, and Credit Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems and O16 - Economic Development: Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 179 Abstract:
A standard explanation for why sovereign governments repay their debts is that they must maintain a good reputation to easily borrow more. We show that the ability of reputation to support debt depends critically on the assumptions made about institutions. At one extreme, we assume that bankers can default on payments they owe to governments. At the other, we assume that bankers are committed to honoring contracts made with governments. We show that if bankers can default, then a government gets enduring benefits from maintaining a good relationship with bankers and its reputation can support a large amount of borrowing. If, however, bankers must honor their contracts, then a government gets only transient benefits from maintaining a good relationship and its reputation can support zero borrowing.
Keyword: Sovereign debt, Default, and Reputation Subject (JEL): F30 - International Finance: General and F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems