Varieties of Sovereign Crises: Latin America 1820-1931

Graciela L. Kaminsky, Pablo Vega-García

NBER Working Paper No. 20042
Issued in April 2014
NBER Program(s):   IFM

The literature on sovereign defaults has focused on adverse shocks to debtors' economies, suggesting that defaults are of an idiosyncratic nature. Still, many of the sovereign crises are of a systemic nature, clustered around panics in the financial centers. Crises in the financial centers are rare events and their effects on the periphery can only be captured by examining long episodes. This paper examines sovereign defaults in Latin America from 1820 to 1931. We find that systemic crises are different. The international collapse of liquidity is at their core. Default spells and recovery rates are also affected by liquidity crashes.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20042

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