Research Summary

Nominal versus Indexed Debt: A Quantitative Horse Race (joint with Fabio Kanczuk)

by Laura Alfaro


There are different arguments in favor and against nominal and indexed debt which broadly include the incentive to default through inflation versus hedging against unforeseen shocks. We model these arguments and calibrate the model to assess the quantitative importance of each. We use a dynamic equilibrium model with tax distortion, government outlays, uncertainty, and contingent debt service, which we take to mean nominal debt. In the model, the benefits of defaulting through inflation are tempered by higher future interest rates. We obtain that calibrated costs from contingent inflation more than offset the benefits for any amount of nominal debt. We further discuss sustainability of nominal debt in volatile (developing) countries.

Nominal Versus Indexed Debt: A Quantitative Horse Race