Theses Doctoral

Essays in International Macroeconomics

Singh, Anurag

This dissertation contains three essays in International Macroeconomics. The first two chapters study clustered sovereign defaults, the default events where multiple countries default in a relatively short period of time. In spite of the fact that clustering of defaults is a recurring phenomenon, there is a lack of empirical as well as quantitative research focusing on clustered defaults. Therefore, the first two chapters try to uncover the the nature of shocks and the mechanism through which these shocks lead countries to clustered defaults.
The first chapter uses the data on 146 sovereign defaults from 1975 to 2014 and categorizes one-third of these defaults as clustered default episodes. It then asks if the nature of shocks that drive clustered defaults differ from those that drive idiosyncratic defaults. I find that global variables, global shocks to transitory component of output of the countries and world interest rate fluctuations, play a crucial role in predicting clustered default events: for clustered default episodes, the predicted probability of default goes up by two-and-a-half times after the inclusion of global variables as explanatory variable. Idiosyncratic defaults, on the other hand, are not influenced by the presence of global variables as explanatory variable in the specification, and the predicted probability of default remains unchanged.
Motivated by the finding of the first chapter, the second chapter builds a quantitative framework to study clustered defaults. The chapter begins with a joint estimation of structural parameters that drive the output process of 24 countries and a process for the world interest rate. The postulated output process includes transitory and permanent global components, as well as transitory and permanent country-specific components. I then build a sovereign default model augmented with financial frictions at the firm level. The model and the estimation process of driving forces are validated jointly when the shocks, estimated independently of the model or of default data, are fed into the model and the model reproduces the clustered default of 1982. The two main findings of the chapter are: (1) the primary driver of clustered defaults is global shock to the transitory component of output; and (2) contrary to what is commonly believed, the Volcker interest rate hike was not a decisive factor for the 1982 developing country debt crisis.
The third chapter looks at one of the key financial frictions in emerging and poor economies—the presence of credit constrained households—and the way they affect consumption-to-output volatility ratio in these countries. A higher than one ratio of consumption-to-output volatility in emerging and poor countries is at odds with the observation that emerging and poor countries are also the countries where a big fraction of consumers do not have access to financial services. This is because consumers with no access to financial services cannot smooth consumption and can only have a consumption volatility to output volatility ratio of one. Therefore, in the presence of credit constrained households, the consumption volatility to output volatility ratio in the theoretical models should move closer to one rather than going up and away from one. This chapter, therefore, incorporates credit constrained households in an augmented real business cycle (RBC) model to study their effect on economic fluctuations in a set on 75 countries.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Uribe, Martin
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 26, 2019