Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2004 (Revised March 2004)

Redesigning Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanisms

by Mihir A. Desai, Christina Pham, Julia Stevens and Kathleen Luchs


How should the debt of sovereign countries be restructured when countries approach default? Anne O. Krueger of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is proposing a new approach to sovereign defaults: the Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM). The SDRM would create a new international legal framework for sovereign defaults, similar to bankruptcy proceedings in the private sector. A new judicial group within the IMF would oversee the SDRM, and it would be implemented through international treaties. Krueger has to construct a convincing case that the SDRM would be more effective than alternative approaches to sovereign defaults. The case provides information on some major sovereign defaults (the crises in Latin America, Mexico, and Asia) and on the existing institutions and processes that creditors and debtors turn to in sovereign defaults. Students must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to sovereign defaults.

Keywords: Sovereign Finance; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Globalized Economies and Regions; International Finance; Laws and Statutes; Latin America; Asia; Mexico;


Desai, Mihir A., Christina Pham, Julia Stevens, and Kathleen Luchs. "Redesigning Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanisms." Harvard Business School Case 204-110, January 2004. (Revised March 2004.)