The doctrine of state succession requires that governments honor the international commitments of their predecessors. Even if a dictator borrows to oppress his own citizens, future generations are required to service the debts and commitments contracted by the dictator. This paper starts by briefly describing possible exceptions to this doctrine by focusing on war and hostile debts. Next, the paper reviews the literature on odious debt and discusses two proposals that could address this issue by using domestic legal principles.
Financial markets reacted with a vengeance to the COVID-19 pandemic. We argue that while the spread of the pandemic is statistically significant in explaining changes to bond spreads, it has little additional explanatory power over variables that capture financial stress. Financial markets reacted as in any international financial crisis by penalizing emerging economies exposing existing vulnerabilities. This finding highlights the need for credible, but flexible, sovereign currencies and the need to build up liquidity reserves.
There is an emerging consensus that inequality is adversely related to growth. However, the empirical literature on the links between inequality and growth does not align with this simple narrative, especially because the channels through which inequality may affect growth remain poorly understood.
On March 24, 2020, the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown - in full force as we write - restricts 1.3 billion people from leaving their homes. Transport services are suspended, educational institutions are closed, and factories are shut down. This is in line with the measures imposed in most European countries and in the United States, but the sheer scale of the measure- as in the case of most policies in India- is intimidating. Add to this the grim truth of Indian occupational structure and poverty, and you would likely predict what we now see: unending streams of migrants trying to find their way home, the fear of loss of all income, deep privations, and even (in the space of days) hunger, starvation and death.
We examine whether political connections ease financial constraints faced by firms. Using firmlevel data from six Central and Eastern European economies, we show that politically connected firms are characterized by: (i) higher leverage, (ii) lower profitability, (iii) lower capitalization, (iv) lower marginal productivity of capital, and (v) lower levels of investment than unconnected firms. Politically connected firms borrow more because they have easier access than unconnected firms to credit but tend to be less productive than unconnected firms. Our results are consistent with the idea that political connections distort capital allocation and may have welfare costs.
During the European sovereign debt crisis of 2011-13, some nations faced with rising borrowing costs adopted commitments to treat bondholders as priority claimants. That is, if there was a shortage of funds, bondholders would be paid first. In this article, we analyze the prevalence and variety of these types of commitments and ask whether they impact borrowing costs. We examine a widely-touted reform at the height of the Euro sovereign debt crisis in 2011, in which Spain enshrined in its constitution a strong commitment to give absolute priority to public debt claimants. We find no evidence that this reform had any impact on Spanish sovereign bond yields. By contrast, our examination of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico suggests that constitutional priority promises can have an impact, at least where the borrower government is subject to supervening law and legal institutions.
This paper presents a comprehensive examination of the determination and evolution of inflation expectations, with a focus on emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs). The results suggest that long-term inflation expectations in EMDEs are not as well anchored as those in advanced economies, despite notable improvements over the past two decades. Indeed, in EMDEs, long-term inflation expectations are more sensitive to both domestic and global inflation shocks. However, EMDEs tend to be more successful in anchoring inflation expectations in the presence of an inflation targeting regime, high central bank transparency, strong trade integration, and a low level of public debt.