Ricardian Equivalence, Foreign Debt and Sovereign Default Risk
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
We study the impact of sovereign solvency on the private-public savings offset. Using data on 80 economies for 1989–2018, we find robust evidence for a U-shaped pattern in the private-public savings offset in sovereign credit ratings. While the 1:1 savings offset is observed at intermediate levels of sovereign solvency, fiscal deficits are not offset by private savings at extremely low and high levels of sovereign solvency. Particularly, the U-shaped pattern is more pronounced for countries with high levels of foreign ownership of government debt. The U-shaped pattern is an emerging market phenomenon; additionally, it is confirmed when considering foreign currency rating and external public debt, but not for domestic currency rating and domestic public debt. For considerable foreign ownership of sovereign bonds, sovereign default constitutes a net wealth gain for domestic consumers.
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