Output costs of sovereign crises: some empirical estimates

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 29 January 2009

Working Paper No. 362
By Bianca De Paoli, Glenn Hoggarth and Victoria Saporta

Avoiding the broader output losses to their economy is likely to be the key reason why governments avoid debt crises. Despite this, there has been little work that seeks to quantify output losses associated with such crises. This paper seeks to fill this gap. We find that debt crisis episodes last for long - on average by about ten years - and are associated with large output losses (of at least 5% per year). Sovereign crises rarely occur in isolation - more often than not they are associated with currency crises or banking crises or both. It is the occurrence of a potent cocktail of ‘twin’ or ‘triple’ crises that is strongly associated with output losses rather than sovereign crisis per se.

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