Essays on sovereign debt and monetary economics
- This dissertation contains three essays on Sovereign Debt and Monetary Economics. The first chapter, entitled 'Sovereign Debt, Domestic Banks and the Provision of Public Liquidity' studies the effect of a sovereign default in the domestic economy and its implications for the government's incentives to repay its debt. I explore two mechanisms through which a sovereign default can disrupt the domestic economy via its banking system. First, a sovereign default creates a negative balance-sheet effect on banks, which reduces their ability to raise funds and prevents the flow of resources to productive investments. Second, default undermines internal liquidity as banks replace government securities with less productive investments. I quantify the model using Argentinean data and find that these two mechanisms can generate a deep and persistent fall in output post-default, which accounts for the government's commitment necessary to explain observed levels of external public debt. The balance-sheet effect is more important because it generates a larger output cost of default and a stronger ex-ante commitment for the government. Post-default bailouts of the banking system, although desirable ex-post, are welfare reducing ex-ante since they weaken government's commitment. Imposing a minimum public debt requirement on banks is welfare improving as it enhances commitment by increasing the output cost of default. The second chapter, entitled 'Sovereign Debt Maturity Structure Under Asymmetric Information' studies the optimal choice of sovereign debt maturity when investors are unaware of the government's willingness to repay. Under a pooling equilibrium there is a wedge between the borrower's true default risk and the default risk priced in debt, and the size of this wedge differs with the maturity of debt. Long-term debt becomes less attractive for safe borrowers since it pools more default risk that is not inherent to them. In response, safe borrowers issue low levels of debt with a shorter maturity profile -relative to the optimal choice under perfect information- and risky borrowers mimic the behavior of safe borrowers to preclude the market from identifying their type. In times of financial distress, the default risk wedge of long-term debt relative to short-term debt increases which makes borrowers reduce the amount of debt issuance and shorten its maturity profile. I present empirical evidence on sovereign debt maturity choices and sovereign spreads for a panel of emerging economies that is consistent with the model's implications. The third chapter, entitled 'Price Setting Under Uncertainty About Inflation', is based on a working paper coauthored with Andres Drenik. This chapter provides an empirical assessment of the effects of the availability of public information about inflation on price setting. We exploit an event in which economic agents lost access to information about the inflation rate: starting in 2007 the Argentinean government began to misreport the national inflation rate. Our difference-in-difference analysis reveals that this policy led to an increase in the coefficient of variation of prices of 18% with respect to its mean. This effect is analyzed in the context of a general equilibrium model in which agents make use of publicly available information about the inflation rate to set prices. We quantify the model and use it to further explore the effects of higher uncertainty about inflation on the effectiveness of monetary policy and aggregate welfare. We find that monetary policy becomes more effective in a context of higher uncertainty about inflation and that not reporting accurate measures of the CPI entails significant welfare losses.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Perez, Diego J
|Stanford University, Department of Economics.
|Schneider, Martin, (Professor of economics)
|Statement of responsibility
|Diego J. Perez.
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2015.
- © 2015 by Diego Perez
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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