Achury, Carolina Koulovatianos, Christos Tsoukalas, John
Year of Publication:
CFS Working Paper Series 508
We develop a dynamic recursive model where political and economic decisions interact, to study how excessive debt-GDP ratios affect political sustainability of prudent fiscal policies. Rent seeking groups make political decisions - to cooperate (or not) - on the allocation of fiscal budgets (including rents) and issuance of sovereign debt. A classic commons problem triggers collective fiscal impatience and excessive debt issuing, leading to a vicious circle of high borrowing costs and sovereign default. We analytically characterize debt-GDP thresholds that foster cooperation among rent seeking groups and avoid default. Our analysis and application helps in understanding the politico-economic sustainability of sovereign rescues, emphasizing the need for fiscal targets and possible debt haircuts. We provide a calibrated example that quantifies the threshold debt-GDP ratio at 137%, remarkably close to the target set for private sector involvement in the case of Greece.
sovereign debt rent seeking world interest rates international lending incentive compatibility tragedy of the commons EU crisis Grexit Graccident