Sovereign debt crises coincide with deep recessions. I propose a model of sovereign debt that rationalizes large contractions in economic activity via an aggregate-demand amplification mechanism. The mechanism also sheds new light on the response of consumption to sovereign risk, which I document in the context of the Eurozone crisis. By explicitly separating the decisions of households and the government, I examine the interaction between sovereign risk and precautionary savings. When a default is likely, households anticipate its negative consequences and cut consumption for self-insurance reasons. Such shortages in aggregate spending worsen economic conditions through nominal wage rigidities and boost default incentives, restarting the vicious cycle. I calibrate the model to Spain in the 2000s and find that about half of the output contraction is caused by default risk. More generally, sovereign risk exacerbates volatility in consumption over time and across agents, creating large and unequal welfare costs even if default does not materialize.
A technical assistance (TA) mission was conducted by IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa (AFS)1 during June 8–12, 2020 to assist Statistics Botswana (SB) in improving the quality of the national accounts statistics. The mission was conducted remotely respecting the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Reliable national accounts are essential for informed economic policymaking by the authorities. It also provides the private sector, foreign investors, rating agencies, donors and the public in general with important inputs in their decision-making, while informing economic analysis and IMF surveillance. Rebasing the national accounts is recommended every five years. Rebasing requires comprehensive surveys and ideally, supply and use tables (SUT) to support coherence checking of data.