NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Alessandro Dovis

Department of Economics
University of Pennsylvania
445 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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NBER Program Affiliations: IFM
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2018Quantitative Sovereign Default Models and the European Debt Crisis
with Luigi Bocola, Gideon Bornstein: w24981
A large literature has developed quantitative versions of the Eaton and Gersovitz (1981) model to analyze default episodes on external debt. In this paper, we study whether the same framework can be applied to the analysis of debt crises in which domestic public debt plays a prominent role. We consider a model where a government can issue debt to both domestic and foreign investors, and we derive conditions under which their sum is the relevant state variable for default incentives. We then apply our framework to the European debt crisis. We show that matching the cyclicality of public debt ---rather than that of external debt--- allows the model to better capture the empirical distribution of interest rate spreads and gives rise to more realistic crises dynamics.
October 2017Fiscal Rules, Bailouts, and Reputation in Federal Governments
with Rishabh Kirpalani: w23942
Expectations of transfers by central governments incentivize overborrowing by local governments. In this paper, we ask if fiscal rules can reduce overborrowing if central governments cannot commit. We study a model in which the central government’s type is unknown and show that fiscal rules increase overborrowing if the central government’s reputation is low. In contrast, fiscal rules are effective in lowering debt if the central government’s reputation is high. Even when the central government’s reputation is low, binding fiscal rules will arise in the equilibrium of a signaling game.
September 2016Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises: A Quantitative Analysis
with Luigi Bocola: w22694
This paper uses the information contained in the joint dynamics of government’s debt maturity choices and interest rate spreads to quantify the importance of self-fulfilling expectations in sovereign bond markets. We consider a model of sovereign borrowing featuring endogenous debt maturity, risk averse lenders and self-fulfilling rollover crises á la Cole and Kehoe (2000). In this environment, interest rate spreads are driven by economic fundamentals and by expectations of future self-fulfilling defaults. These two sources of default risk have contrasting implications for the debt maturity choices of the government. Therefore, they can be indirectly inferred by tracking the evolution of the maturity structure of debt during a crisis. We fit the model to the Italian debt crisis of 2008-20...
January 2016Political Economy of Sovereign Debt: A Theory of Cycles of Populism and Austerity
with Mikhail Golosov, Ali Shourideh: w21948
We study optimal fiscal and redistributive policies in an open economy without commitment. Due to its redistributive motives, the government’s incentive to default on its external debt is affected by inequality. We show that in equilibrium the economy endogenously fluctuates between two regimes. In the first regime, the government borrows from abroad, spends generously on transfers and keeps the inequality low. In the second regime, it implements austerity-like policies by cutting transfers, reducing foreign debt and increasing the inequality. The equilibrium dynamics resembles the populist cycles documented in many developing countries.
 
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