YSI Conference on Debt Sustainability

  • Starts1:00 pm on Friday, April 28, 2023
  • Ends11:00 am on Sunday, April 30, 2023

The YSI Conference on Debt Sustainability hosted at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center on 28-30 April 2023 will discuss the key conceptual and policy themes for sovereign debt sustainability, the characteristics of the existing frameworks under which debt decisions and policies occur, and possible avenues for reform. It will, furthermore, explore the crucial implications of debt sustainability issues for wider global challenges of economic development, climate mitigation, and international cooperation.

The conference intends to equip young scholars and early career professionals with concepts and frameworks for dealing with debt sustainability in theory and practice and account for technical and political dimensions of the issues at hand. The topics are informed by renowned international experts from the academy and practice. We hope to inspire new economic thinking on these critical issues that concern the course of our global society.

The Scope of the Conference

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in sharp increases in public debt across the globe. While this holds true for all countries, rising public debt levels of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) are particularly worrying, with debt vulnerabilities being high in absolute terms and relative to pre-pandemic levels. More generally, there has been acceleration of private bond issuance from EMDC corporates in global capital markets in the past years. It is this system of debt issued in global markets that is now coming under strain.

The shock caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its economic effects on food and energy prices, supply chain disruptions and capital flow reversals has further increased EMDCs vulnerability. This, in turn, makes the prospects for EMDCs to roll over their debts more challenging.

The Fed and other central banks in advanced economies have responded with interest rate hikes which resulted in spillovers to EMDCs economies and triggered a reversal in capital flows and higher financing costs. As financial conditions tighten worldwide, borrowing costs increase and pressure is added on international reserves. The dollar’s appreciation, in turn, only puts more pressure on EMDCs’ balance sheets and aggravates debt sustainability problems for EMDCs, many of which are already at high risk of debt distress.

As a result, we expect a significant number of sovereign debt restructurings. The international financial architecture in its current form is not ready to deal with this highly challenging situation.

Topics of Interest for the Call for Papers:

We invite early career researchers and young professionals to apply with preliminary or advanced work on topics of debt sustainability and its wider implications for international economic cooperation, industrial policy, climate mitigation and economic development. We particularly interested in work that explore issues of debt sustainability directly and that bridge debt sustainability concerns with wider economic objectives domestically and globally, including economic development, climate mitigation, international cooperation.

Deadline for those based in the US is March 22. For participants applying from outside the US, the deadline is March 15. Find more details on submitting your proposal at the link below.

Confirmed speakers:

- Andres Arauz (CEPR, former runner up Ecuadorian presidential election 2021)

- Lee C. Buchheit (retired, 43-year legal career, much of it devoted to sovereign debt management issues)

- Orsola Costantini (UNCTAD)

- Tom Ferguson (Institute for New Economic Thinking)

- Marc Flandreau (University of Pennsylvania)

- Kevin P. Gallagher (Boston University)

- Jayati Ghosh (JNU, UMass Amherst)

- Martin Guzman (Columbia University)

- Hans Humes (Greylock Capital Management)

- Ramiro Tosi (University of La Plata; Former Under Secretary for Financing, Argentina)

- Yide Qia (Shanghai Development Research Foundation)

- Perry Mehrling (Boston University)

- Lara Merling (Boston University GDP Center)

- Daniel Munevar (UNCTAD)

- Walker Todd (former attorney and legal officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Boston University - Location TBD

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