Voluntary Debt Reduction: Incentives and Welfare

56 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2004

See all articles by Elhanan Helpman

Elhanan Helpman

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1988

Abstract

In an economy with a debt overhang, investment depends on expected tax rates. On the other hand, expected tax rates depend on the debt's face value. Therefore investment depends on the face value of debt. I show that this may lead to a positive or negative association between debt and investment depending on the degree of international capital mobility and attitudes toward risk. There may also exist multiple equilibria; with high and low investment levels. The paper explores the desirability of debt reduction in this environment. First, it characterizes circumstances in which debt reduction is desirable from the collective point of view of the creditors. Second, it formulates the forgiveness decision as a noncooperative game among creditors and explores the scope for debt reduction as an outcome of this game.

Suggested Citation

Helpman, Elhanan, Voluntary Debt Reduction: Incentives and Welfare (August 1988). NBER Working Paper No. w2692. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=439607

Elhanan Helpman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-4690 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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