The debt problem: evolution and prospects
Implications for future U.S. net investment payments of growing U.S. net international indebtedness
In the 1980s, the United States developed a large and persistent current account deficit, financed by borrowing from abroad. The purpose of this paper is to explore the sustainability of these large deficits from one of several possible perspectives. Simulations of a model of the U.S. current account are used to examine the future servicing burden implied by the accumulating U.S. indebtedness to foreigners (or more precisely by the negative net international investment position).
Towards a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism
Implications of the U.S. current account deficit
In 1988, the United States recorded a current account deficit of about $135 billion. The consensus forecast seems to be for little change in the current account in the near term. In this paper, the implications of the U.S. current account deficit and of the consequent buildup in U.S. external debt are examined. The analytical framework for thinking about the U.S. current account is first surveyed, and the results from the empirical literature on the causes of the deficits in the 1980s are then reported. The sustainability of the U.S. external position is discussed next. It is concluded that, ...
Should we worry about the large U.S. current account deficit?
Is the large current account deficit a problem for the U.S.? Economic theory offers some scenarios in which a current account deficit is a rational response to economic conditions or a response that may even enhance economic welfare. At the same time, recent research suggests that under certain circumstances, a large current account deficit may make the U.S. economy vulnerable to severe disruptions. This Economic Letter explores some recent theories and some data to understand how the current account deficit could be either an optimal outcome or a threatening one.
Can debtor countries service their debts? Income and price elasticities for exports of developing countries
Interest in income and price elasticities for international trade has increased recently because of the debt crisis that many developing countries are experiencing. Estimates of income elasticities of import demand, however, range from a low of 1.3 to a high of 4.7. Such differences have important implications for debtor and creditor countries alike. Using quarterly data for the period 1973-1981, this paper estimates income and price elasticities for non-oil imports of five major industrial countries from non-OPEC developing countries. The empirical results suggest that the income elasticity ...
LDC debt and exports
Sovereign debt crises and credit to the private sector
We argue that, through its effect on aggregate demand and country risk premia, sovereign debt restructuring can adversely affect the private sector's access to foreign capital markets. Using fixed effect analysis, we estimate that sovereign debt rescheduling episodes are indeed systematically accompanied by a decline in foreign credit to emerging market private firms, both during debt renegotiations and for over two years after the agreements are reached. This decline is large (over 20%), statistically significant, and robust when we control for a host of fundamentals. We find that this ...
Saving imbalances and the euro area sovereign debt crisis
For several years prior to 2010, countries in the euro area periphery engaged in heavy borrowing from foreign private investors, allowing domestic spending to outpace incomes. Now these countries face debt crises reflecting a loss of investor confidence in the sustainability of their finances. The result has been an abrupt halt in private foreign lending to these economies. This study explains how the periphery countries became dependent on foreign borrowing and considers the challenges they face reigniting growth while adjusting to greatly reduced access to foreign capital.