Patrick Bolton and Olivier Jeanne

Working Paper, November 2008


We show how the willingness-to-pay problem and lack of exclusivity in sovereign lending may result in an equilibrium sovereign debt structure that is excessively di¢ cult to restructure. A bankruptcy regime for sovereigns can alleviate this ine¢ ciency but only if it is endowed with far-reaching powers to enforce seniority and subordination clauses in debt contracts. A bankruptcy regime that makes sovereign debt easier to restructure without enforcing seniority may decrease welfare.

View the paper here: Structuring and Restructuring Sovereign Debt: The Role of Seniority