NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Self-Fulfilling Debt Dilution: Maturity and Multiplicity in Debt Models

Mark A. Aguiar, Manuel Amador

NBER Working Paper No. 24683
Issued in June 2018
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, International Finance and Macroeconomics

We establish that creditor beliefs regarding future borrowing can be self-fulfilling, leading to multiple equilibria with markedly different debt accumulation patterns. We characterize such indeterminacy in the Eaton-Gersovitz sovereign debt model augmented with long maturity bonds. Two necessary conditions for the multiplicity are: (i) the government is more impatient than foreign creditors, and (ii) there are deadweight losses from default; both are realistic and standard assumptions in the quantitative literature. The multiplicity is dynamic and stems from the self-fulfilling beliefs of how future creditors will price bonds; long maturity bonds are therefore a crucial component of the multiplicity. We introduce a third party with deep pockets to discuss the policy implications of this source of multiplicity and identify the potentially perverse consequences of traditional “lender of last resort” policies.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24683

 
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