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The financial penalty for 'unfair' debt: the case of Cuban bonds at the time of independence

Stephanie Collet ()

European Review of Economic History, 2013, vol. 17, issue 3, 364-387

Abstract: 'Unfair' sovereign debts, used, for instance, to suppress a rebellion, may be declared 'odious' and not be repaid once the former regime is overthrown. Bondholders may therefore require a premium to compensate for the higher default risk due to the potentially odious character of these debts. On the basis of an original database of Cuban bonds, the paper shows the existence of a risk premium of at least 200 basis points which penalized bonds issued by the Spanish occupation regime. Bond market reactions to events changing the perception that the debts were 'unfair' or that they would be repudiated are analysed on the basis of a structural VAR. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Date: 2013
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