EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Lending to the Borrower from Hell: Debt and Default in the Age of Philip II, 1556-1598

Mauricio Drelichman and Hans-Joachim Voth

No 7276, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Philip II of Spain accumulated debts equivalent to 60% of GDP. He also failed to honor them four times. We ask what allowed the sovereign to borrow much while defaulting often. Earlier work emphasized either banker irrationality or the importance of sanctions. Using new archival data, we show that neither interpretation is supported by the evidence. What sustained lending was the ability of bankers to cut off Philip II’s access to smoothing services. We analyze the incentive structure that supported the cohesion of this bankers' coalition. Lending moratoria were sustained through a "cheat the cheater" mechanism (Kletzer and Wright, 2000).

Keywords: early modern state finances; incentive compatability; Philip II; serial default; sovereign debt; state capacity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F21 F34 N23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7276 (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

Related works:
Working Paper: Lending to the borrower from hell: Debt and default in the age of Philip II, 1556-1598 (2009) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7276

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... ers/dp.php?dpno=7276

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2020-02-16
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7276