NBER Working Papers by Ugo Panizza

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Working Papers

May 2017Lessons Unlearned? Corporate Debt in Emerging Markets
with Laura Alfaro, Gonzalo Asis, Anusha Chari: w23407
This paper documents a set of stylized facts about leverage and financial fragility in the non-financial corporate sector in emerging markets since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Corporate debt vulnerability indicators prior to the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) attributed to corporate financial roots provide a benchmark for comparison. The firm-level data suggest that emerging markets post-GFC have lower leverage ratios than the five Asian crisis countries (Asian Five) in the run-up to the AFC. However, a broader set of emerging market countries show weaker liquidity, solvency, and profitability indicators. More countries are also in the Altman Z-score's “grey zone”, that is, at risk for corporate distress. Regression estimates confirm that leading up to the AFC and in the aftermath of ...
July 2014A Surplus of Ambition: Can Europe Rely on Large Primary Surpluses to Solve its Debt Problem?
with Barry Eichengreen: w20316
IMF forecasts and the EU's Fiscal Compact foresee Europe's heavily indebted countries running primary budget surpluses of as much as 5 percent of GDP for as long as 10 years in order to maintain debt sustainability and bring their debt/GDP ratios down to the Compact's 60 percent target. We show that primary surpluses this large and persistent are rare. In an extensive sample of high- and middle-income countries there are just 3 (nonoverlapping) episodes where countries ran primary surpluses of at least 5 per cent of GDP for 10 years. Analyzing a less restrictive definition of persistent surplus episodes (primary surpluses averaging at least 3 percent of GDP for 5 years), we find that surplus episodes are more likely when growth is strong, when the current account of the balance of payments...

Published: Barry Eichengreen & Ugo Panizza, 2016. "A surplus of ambition: can Europe rely on large primary surpluses to solve its debt problem?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(85), pages 5-49. citation courtesy of

September 2004The Long-Run Volatility Puzzle of the Real Exchange Rate
with Ricardo Hausmann, Roberto Rigobon: w10751
This paper documents large cross-country differences in the long run volatility of the real exchange rate. In particular, it shows that the real exchange rate of developing countries is approximately three times more volatile than the real exchange rate in industrial countries. The paper tests whether this difference in volatility can be explained by the fact that developing countries face larger shocks (both real and nominal) and recurrent currency crises or by different elasticities to these shocks. It finds that the magnitude of the shocks and the differences in elasticities can only explain a small part of the difference in RER volatility between developing and industrial countries. Results from ARCH estimations confirm that there is a substantial difference in long term volatilities b...

Published: Hausmann, Ricardo, Ugo Panizza and Roberto Rigobon. "The Long-Run Volatility Puzzle Of The Real Exchange Rate," Journal of International Money and Finance, 2006, v25(1,Feb), 93-124. citation courtesy of

October 2003Currency Mismatches, Debt Intolerance and Original Sin: Why They Are Not the Same and Why it Matters
with Barry Eichengreen, Ricardo Hausmann: w10036
Recent years have seen the development of a large literature on balance sheet factors in emerging-market financial crises. In this paper we discuss three concepts widely used in this literature. Two of them original sin' and debt intolerance' seek to explain the same phenomenon, namely, the volatility of emerging-market economies and the difficulty these countries have in servicing and repaying their debts. The debt-intolerance school traces the problem to institutional weaknesses of emerging-market economies that lead to weak and unreliable policies, while the original-sin school traces the problem instead to the structure of global portfolios and international financial markets. The literature on currency mismatches, in contrast, is concerned with the consequences of these proble...

Published: Collier, Paul an Jan Willem Gunning (eds.) Globalization and Poverty. Volume 1. What Has Happened? Volume 2. What Are the Channels of Transmission? Volume 3. Policy Responses. Volume 2. Elgar Reference Collection. Globalization of the World Economy series, vol. 19. Cheltenham, U.K. and Northampton, MA: Elgar, 2008.

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