Growth-indexed Bonds and Debt Distribution: Theoretical Benefits and Practical Limits


Sovereign state-contingent bonds, in particular growth-indexed bonds (GIBs), have rarely been issued in practice despite their theoretical benefits. This paper provides support for this apparent sovereign noncontingency puzzle by deriving the impact of GIBs on the upper tail of the distribution of the public debt-to-GDP ratio. Although this impact varies importantly across countries and indexation formulas, empirical estimates show there is almost no reduction in the upper tail of the distribution under the realistic assumption that GIBs only represent 20 percent of the stock of debt. Moreover, a sustained premium of 100 basis points would actually increase the upper tail of the distribution for most countries.

PIIE Working paper, 2018
Julien Acalin
Julien Acalin
PhD candidate in Economics

I am a PhD Job Market Candidate in Economics at Johns Hopkins University. My research interests lie at the intersection of macroeconomics and international finance.