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Estimating Sovereign Default Risk

Huixin Bi () and Nora Traum ()

American Economic Review, 2012, vol. 102, issue 3, 161-66

Abstract: This paper uses Bayesian methods to estimate the sovereign default probability for Greece and Italy in the post-EMU period. We build a real business cycle model that allows for interactions among fiscal policy instruments, sovereign default risk, and a "fiscal limit," which measures the maximum level of debt the government is willing to finance. We estimate the full nonlinear model using likelihood inference methods. Although we find that Greece historically had a lower default probability than Italy for a given debt level, our estimates suggest that the Italian government is more willing to service debt than the Greek government.

Date: 2012
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