The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper evaluates the effect of foreign debt on investment in a heavily-indebted country, using numerical simulations of a simple rational expectations growth model. Two particular effects are distinguished. First, the effect due to “debt overhang” of past accumulated debts; and second, the effect of “credit rationing” or inability to obtain new financing. The results from the simulations indicate the credit rationing may be a powerful disincentive to investment. This suggests that in order to maximize the impact on productive investment, debt reduction plans need to be accompanied by additional foreign lending.