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Towards a Comprehensive Sovereign Bankruptcy Regime

Working Paper #159

Barry Herman, José Antonio Ocampo, Shari Spiegel

This paper is the conclusion to the book Overcoming Developing Country Debt Crises, edited by Barry Herman, Jose Antonio Ocampo and Shari Spiegel. The argument in this book is that the ad hoc and piecemeal official and market-based insolvency regimes for sovereign debtors have been excessively creditor friendly and costly for developing countries. The “solutions” are generally put into place with undue lags, causing unnecessary prolongation of uncertainty and attendant economic trauma. And, despite ultimately returning the debtor to new financial flows from its traditional creditors, the workouts almost never provide enough relief for a “fresh start” of the debtor economy. This often leads to future debt restructurings, and possibly a long period of stagnation or slow economic growth, with consequent worsening of poverty.

About the Authors

Barry Herman
Visiting Senior Fellow, Graduate Program
International Affairs
The New School

Barry Herman (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is Visiting Senior Fellow at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of The New School in New York. He has been a member since its founding in 2010 of the Advisory Board of Social Justice in Global Development e.V., an international NGO registered in Germany that promotes reform of global development policies and improved global economic governance by preparing papers and organizing seminars and conferences for information exchange, advocacy and development education (www.socdevjustice.org). Also, from its inception in 2005 until end 2011, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Global Integrity, a research NGO based in Washington that works with independent scholars and investigative reporters on assessing laws, institutions and practices to improve governance and limit corruption in developed and developing countries. In addition, from 2004 to 2009 he co-chaired the Task Force on Debt Restructuring and Sovereign Bankruptcy at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. He completed almost 30 years in the United Nations Secretariat in 2005, the last two years of which were as Senior Advisor in the Financing for Development Office in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He consults with various offices of the United Nations and other official bodies and non-governmental networks on international economic and financial policies (most recently, the World Council of Churches in 2012).

José Antonio Ocampo
Co-President
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)

Jose Antonio Ocampo is Co-President of IPD, Professor of Professional Practice in the School of International and Public Affairs, and Fellow of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Prior to his appointment at Columbia, Professor Ocampo served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and head of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and has held a number of high-level posts in the Government of Colombia, including Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Director of the National Planning Department, and Minister of Agriculture . Professor Ocampo is author or editor of over 30 books and has published over 200 scholarly articles on macroeconomic theory and policy, international financial issues, economic development, international trade, and Colombian and Latin American economic history.

Shari Spiegel
Senior Economic Affairs Officer
UN DESA

Shari Spiegel joined UN DESA as a Senior Economic Affairs Officer in May 2010. She is co-author and co-editor of several of books and articles on capital and financial markets, debt and macroeconomics. She served as Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD). She has extensive experience at the private sector, most recently as a Principal at New Holland Capital and as head of fixed-income emerging markets at Lazard Asset Management. She also served as an advisor to the Hungarian Central Bank in the early 1990s.

Publication Information

Type Working Paper
Program Debt Restructuring and Sovereign Bankruptcy
Posted 09/18/08
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