Assessing the Appropriate Size of Relief in Sovereign Debt Restructuring

37 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2017

Date Written: December 12, 2017


This paper provides a methodology for assessing the appropriate size of debt relief in sovereign debt restructuring initiatives, with the baseline premise being that a restructuring must be principles based. We show how to calculate the amount of debt relief that restores sustainability with high probability subject to the satisfaction of other restructuring principles. The amount of debt relief is deemed appropriate if it leads to trajectories of economically and politically feasible fixed points for the primary surplus to GDP ratio that satisfy the government’s intertemporal budget constraint in a “high” percent of possible future states of nature. Economic feasibility is defined by natural economic constraints, and political feasibility is defined by the constraints imposed by the restructuring principles. We also provide evidence suggesting that sovereign debt restructuring relief amounts to date have been ‘too little’.

Keywords: Sovereign Debt, Sustainability, Restructuring

JEL Classification: F34, G01, H63

Suggested Citation

Guzman, Martin and Lombardi, Domenico, Assessing the Appropriate Size of Relief in Sovereign Debt Restructuring (December 12, 2017). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 18-9, Available at SSRN: or

Martin Guzman (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Domenico Lombardi

Banca di San Marino ( email )

San Marino

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics