The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Emerging countries that have defaulted on their debt repayment obligations in the past are more likely to default again in the future than are non-defaulters even with the same external debt-to-GDP ratio. These countries actually have repeated defaults or restructurings in short periods. This paper explains these stylized facts within a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium framework by explicitly modeling renegotiations between a defaulting country and its creditors. The quantitative analysis of the model reveals that the equilibrium probability of default for a given debt-to-GDP level is weakly increasing with the number of past defaults. The model also accords with an additional fact: lower recovery rates (high NPV haircuts) are associated with increases in spreads at renegotiation.