The Odious Haitian Independence Debt

36 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021 Last revised: 24 Sep 2021

See all articles by Kim Oosterlinck

Kim Oosterlinck

Université Libre de Bruxelles - SBS-EM, CEB

Ugo Panizza

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) - Department of Economics; CEPR

Mark C. Weidemaier

University of North Carolina School of Law

Mitu Gulati

University of Virginia School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 5, 2021

Abstract

This article introduces the Haitian Independence Debt of 1825 to the odious debt and sovereign debt literatures. We argue that the legal doctrine of odious debt is surprisingly and perhaps indefensibly narrow possibly because of historical contingency rather than any underlying logic or principle. The story of the Haitian Independence Debt of 1825 serves as an illustrative case study. In the context of telling that story, we provide estimates of the evolution of Haiti’s external debt-to-GDP ratio over 1825-2020, and discuss the implications of the independence debt for the economy of Haiti. We conclude by discussing the implications of Haiti’s Independence Debt for the doctrine of odious debt and the possibilities for Haiti to recover compensation.

Keywords: odious debt, Haitian Independence Debt of 1825, sovereign debt

JEL Classification: G15; H63; K34; O54

Suggested Citation

Oosterlinck, Kim and Panizza, Ugo and Weidemaier, Mark C. and Gulati, Mitu, The Odious Haitian Independence Debt (September 5, 2021). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2021-40, Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2021-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3894623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3894623

Kim Oosterlinck

Université Libre de Bruxelles - SBS-EM, CEB ( email )

50 Avenue Roosevelt, CP114/03
Brussels 1050
Belgium

Ugo Panizza (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) - Department of Economics ( email )

Geneva Avenue de la Paix 11A
Geneva, 1202
Switzerland

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Mark C. Weidemaier

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919.843.4373 (Phone)

Mitu Gulati

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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