Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Credibility For Sale

Author(s): Harris Dellas and Dirk Niepelt

Publication Date: July 2013

Keyword(s): default, enforcement, official lending and Sovereign debt

Programme Area(s): International Macroeconomics and Public Economics

Abstract: We develop a sovereign debt model with official and private creditors where default risk depends on both the level and the composition of liabilities. Higher exposure to official lenders improves incentives to repay but carries extra costs, such as reduced ex-post flexibility. The model implies that official lending to sovereigns takes place in times of debt distress; carries a favorable rate; and can displace private funding even under pari passu provisions. Moreover, in the presence of long-term debt overhang, the availability of official funds increases the probability of default on existing debt, although default does not trigger exclusion from private credit markets. These findings help shed light on joint default and debt composition choices of the type observed during the recent sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

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Bibliographic Reference

Dellas, H and Niepelt, D. 2013. 'Credibility For Sale'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.