Talk:Sovereign default

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

italy default? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:55, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Redirect here[edit]

sovereign default redirects but seems worthy of its own article. Rod57 (talk) 19:27, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Default-free states[edit]

Wouldn't it be useful to list states that have gone long periods without default? I'm not sure where we'd get the sourcing, but the fact that the United States has essentially never defaulted on its debt has had major implications for its economy. — ˈzɪzɨvə (talk) 18:57, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Well their lack of default can also be attributed to their lack of sovereign debt - they issue debt in their own currency.--Godal (talk) 02:09, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
For detailed historical information of sovereign defaults see This time is different (by Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff). By the way, the United States did default in 1790 [1] and in 1933.[2] See also --spitzl (talk) 12:50, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Reasons for revert[edit]

I reverted a recent major edit to this page because it contained statements that appeared to violate Wikipedia's neutral point of view and the ban on original research. Maybe I failed to recognize a good-faith attempt to expand the page. I am reverting again, for the following reasons, but I invite the other editor to work on improving the points he/she made. Rinconsoleao (talk) 14:30, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

(1) A sovereign default and a sovereign debt crisis are not the same thing. There can be a crisis that is eventually resolved without default actually occurring. The old version of the page made this distinction (hopefully) clear; the new version conflated the two concepts.

(2) This long aside in parentheses seemed unclear, doubtfully correct, a run-on sentence, ideologically biassed, and unsuitable for the lead paragraph:

(the latter is usually accomplished by either continuously raising the national debt ceiling or unilaterally abolishing the national debt; abolishing the national debt is technically at the discretion of a given country's rulers, but may be de facto impermissible because the lenders refuse to recognise that abolition and continue to actively demand the debt be repaid).

More specifically, (2a) 'usually accomplished' is probably not true. There are many ways of reneging on debt. (2b) the comment about the debt ceiling sounds like a political statement about current US debates. (2c) the comment about abolition being 'technically at the discretion' of the government was discussed elsewhere in the previous version of the page. Trying to fit it all into the lead paragraph makes the article less clear.

(3) I don't see what was clarified by the edits in the paragraph that begins 'Since a sovereign government...' They mostly seem to be copy edits, but they don't seem to clarify anything. In particular, what is the point of inserting the word 'legally'? Was the intention to point towards non-legal methods of obliging the government (e.g. in the 19th and 20th century imperial powers sometimes threatened or carried out military intervention to collect on sovereign debts, which depending on your point of view might not be 'legal')? Or was some other clarification intended?

(4) The paragraph on what the IMF does in debt restructurings seems to add useful content. We need to be sure it is compatible with WP:NPOV, but I will leave it in place. Rinconsoleao (talk) 14:52, 13 June 2011 (UTC)


I reverted the claim that the US has defaulted on its debt. The first reason for the revert is that the references are inadequate (an online encyclopedia and a blog). Fortunately, those two references cited published references (an NBER study and the Reinhart/Rogoff book).

The second reason is that the events discussed (when going to those online references) may or may not count as default: in particular, when the US abrogated the gold clause, so that it paid back debts in dollars that were no longer backed by gold.

Since the issue of previous US defaults is currently politically controversial, it would be helpful to address the issue with precision, and with adequate references. Rinconsoleao (talk) 13:18, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Hi Rinconsoleao, I added the US to the list. Thanx for your remark about the sources. I followed your critique and changed it accordingly. The new (in my opinion very credible) NBER source should be adequate now. If you find equally credible sources saying the US did not default, then of course we can put that in as well.--spitzl (talk) 20:30, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, very helpful. Rinconsoleao (talk) 21:56, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Failure or refusal?[edit]

Should it be noted at the start that it is usually a refusal to pay back the debt, not an inability to pay it off? Allens (talk) 20:40, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I think it can be either. The threat of sovereign default in Europe at the moment are because the European states may not be able to make payment on their debts, not that they are refusing to do so. 03:02, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
It is a refusal. Debt can be restructured, and paid back with assets instead of cash, or rescheduled.Emil Perhinschi 13:33, 10 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Emilper (talkcontribs)

MOVED DISCUSSION from the merged article "national bankruptcy"[edit]

some discussion was written before the publishing of the article.

The title of this article was translated literally but incorrectly from the german page. The proper title should be "sovereign default". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

this might serve for discussion as well:

  • "Default" essentially means a debtor has not paid a debt which he/she/it is required to have paid.
  • "Insolvency" is a legal term meaning that a debtor is unable to pay his debts.
  • "Bankruptcy" is a legal finding that imposes court supervision over the financial affairs of those who are insolvent or in default.

source: --Stefanbcn (talk) 21:09, 23 January 2009 (UTC) --Stefanbcn (talk) 01:56, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Regarding a question left on my talk page about translation[edit]

Unfortunately, I only speak English (and even then, not all that well). If you need help translating from another language, see Wikipedia:Translation. I hope that helps! 21:56, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


Here Iceland is listed as an example. However, the article 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis seems to indicate they're not bankrupt (or at least not quite yet). Which is it? --AbsolutDan (talk) 04:29, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the response on my talk page. I was concerned that perhaps if the country hadn't "officially" been declared bankrupt perhaps it shouldn't be listed. I see now that it's not quite so black-and-white. Cheers --AbsolutDan (talk) 13:07, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Iceland, as a state, is meeting all its obligations so it's not bankrupt. (talk) 03:50, 5 April 2009 (UTC)


interesting sources cited for the claim --Stefanbcn (talk) 09:11, 3 May 2009 (UTC)


Technically a country cannot go bankrupt. Bankruptcy is a formal part of civil law which involves the courts to decide how the bankrupt entity will be managed. The idea that a state is "sovereign" precludes any higher authority managing its affairs. The term used in English for total or partial default or other avoidance of debt obligations of nations is "sovereign default". See Reinhart, Carmen M.; Rogoff, Kenneth S. (2009). This time is different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691142165.Skmacksler (talk) 19:33, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

 Done --spitzl (talk) 12:59, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Well said Skmacksler. The misuse of the term Bankruptcy to mean sovereign default by the media and others is very disappointing. Misusing this term is below Wikipedia's high standards. Robert Brockway (talk) 03:08, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I replaced national bankruptcy with sovereign default in the text. One link to another page remains and I left it in category Bankruptcy for purposes of comparison. Robert Brockway (talk) 03:13, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

combining articles[edit]

These two articles are talking about the same thing, but a lot of editing would be needed to combine them.Skmacksler (talk) 19:33, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

 Done --spitzl (talk) 12:52, 8 November 2011 (UTC)