Models of sovereign debt: Partial versus general reputations

Harold L. Cole, Patrick J. Kehoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Some economists argue that as long as governments can earn the market rate of return by saving abroad, standard reputation models cannot support debt. We argue that these standard reputation models are partial in the sense that actions of agents in one arena affect reputation in that arena only. We develop a general model of reputation in which if a government is viewed as untrustworthy in one relationship, this government will be viewed as untrustworthy in other relationships. We show that our general model of reputation can support large amounts of debt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-70
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Economic Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1998

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