The Hausmann-Gorky Effect

39 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018 Last revised: 19 Apr 2018

See all articles by Mitu Gulati

Mitu Gulati

University of Virginia School of Law

Ugo Panizza

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) - Department of Economics; CEPR

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 15, 2018


For over a century, legal scholars have debated the question of what to do about the debts incurred by despotic governments; asking whether successor non-despotic governments should have to pay them. That debate has gone nowhere. This paper examines whether an Op Ed written by Harvard economist, Ricardo Hausmann, in May 2017, may have shown an alternative path to the goal of increasing the cost of borrowing for despotic governments. Hausmann, in his Op Ed, had sought to produce a pricing penalty on the entire Venezuelan debt stock by trying to shame JPMorgan into removing Venezuelan bonds from its emerging market index. JPMorgan did not comply, but there was a pricing penalty. Intriguingly, the penalty hit only one bond; an issue by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company that went on the market two days prior to Hausmann’s piece. That bond then began to carry the name in the market of “Hunger Bond.” Using quantitative data and interviews with investors, we try to understand the causes of the Hunger Bond penalty and ask whether there are lessons for policy makers.

Keywords: sovereign debt, odious debt, Venezuela, sovereign default

JEL Classification: G15, H63, K34, O54

Suggested Citation

Gulati, Mitu and Panizza, Ugo, The Hausmann-Gorky Effect (March 15, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Mitu Gulati (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Ugo Panizza

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) - Department of Economics ( email )

Geneva Avenue de la Paix 11A
Geneva, 1202


United Kingdom

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

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics