NBER Working Paper: International Spillovers and ‘Ex-ante’ Efficient Bailouts

Marina Azzimonti, and Vincenzo Quadrini
September 2018

We study how cross-country macroeconomic spillovers caused by sovereign default affect equilibrium bailouts. Because of portfolio diversification, the default of one country causes a macroeconomic contraction also in other countries. This generates a self-interest for these other countries to bailout the defaulting country. A novel insight of the paper is that bailouts could be efficient not only ex-post (after the debt has been issued) but also ex-ante (before the issuance of the debt). Although anticipated bailouts create the typical moral hazard problem leading countries to issue more debt, this may correct for the under issuance of public debt that would result from the lack of cross-country policy coordination.

International Spillovers and ‘Ex-ante’ Efficient Bailouts