Sovereign debt, government myopia, and the financial sector
Raghuram Rajan, Viral Acharya 24 November 2011
Why do governments repay external borrowing? This column argues that myopic governments seeking popularity do not default when they are poor because they would lose access to debt markets and be forced to reduce spending. And they do not default when rich because of the adverse consequences to the domestic financial sector. This explains why governments continue servicing debt when default is beneficial for the country.
Why do governments repay external sovereign borrowing? Models where countries service their external debt for fear of being excluded from capital markets for a sustained period (or some other form of harsh punishment such as trade sanctions or invasion) seem very persuasive, yet are at odds with the fact that defaulters seem to be able to return to borrowing in international capital markets after a short while.
Government default, debt
Was the euro a mistake?
Barry Eichengreen 20 January 2009
2008 was the year of asymmetric financial shocks for the Eurozone, but 2009 will be the year of the symmetric economic shock. All of Europe is slipping simultaneously towards recession and the threat of deflation. Here one of the world’s leading international economists explains that a common monetary policy response is optimal. Euro interest rates should be cut to zero and quantitative easing undertaken, all complemented by fiscal expansion by Eurozone nations that can afford it. What started as the euro’s greatest challenge could be its salvation, but only if policy makers act swiftly.
What started as the Subprime Crisis in 2007 and morphed in the Global Credit Crisis in 2008 has become the Euro Crisis in 2009. Sober people are now contemplating whether a euro area member such as Greece might default on its debt. In addition to directly damaging bank balance sheets, this would destroy confidence in its banking and financial system. Unable to borrow and facing horrific bank recapitalisation costs, the country would have to print money. To do so it would have to abandon the euro and reinstate its old national currency.
ECB, global crisis, Government default, Eurozone breakup