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 provides a tractable framework to assess how the structure of debt instruments-specifically by currency denomination and indexation to GDP-can raise the debt limit of a sovereign. By calibrating the model to different country fundamentals, it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to optimal instrument design. For instance, low income countries may find benefit in issuing local currency debt; while in advanced economies debt tolerance can be substantially enhanced through issuing GDP-linked bonds. By looking at the marginal impact of these instruments, the paper also provides insight into the optimal portfolio compostion.