Outline of a Redistribution-Free Debt Redemption Fund for the Euro Area
31 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019
Date Written: February 4, 2019
Public debts in the euro area have increased sharply due to the economic crisis, and remain at historically high levels in several countries. In a monetary union, high-debt members represent a permanent threat to financial stability, as they are subject – even if fundamentally solvent – to significant rollover risk. Given the tight financial and economic links between member states, a liquidity crisis in one of them would trigger area-wide turmoil. While prudent fiscal policies are essential to address the legacy debt problem, it takes time for them to bring the debt back to (at least) pre-crisis levels. Against this background, the paper explores the feasibility and desirability of transferring a share of national public debts to a European Redemption Fund. In exchange, each country would transfer a yearly flow of resources to the Fund. We show that it is possible to design such a scheme so that it does not entail any ex-ante cross-country redistribution, while the euro area as a whole would benefit as the lowering of member states’ annual refinancing needs would improve financial stability. The fraction of mutualized debt would be fully redeemed over a reasonable number of years. The scheme would not jeopardize national commitment to debt reduction; if anything, market discipline would become more effective at the margin.
Keywords: euro area, sovereign debt, debt redemption fund, financial stability
JEL Classification: E6, H12, H60
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation