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International Economics Commons

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International Trade Law

Sovereign debt

2004

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Full-Text Articles in International Economics

Building A Better Seating Chart For Sovereign Restructurings, Anna Gelpern Jan 2004

Building A Better Seating Chart For Sovereign Restructurings, Anna Gelpern

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Every sovereign debt restructuring in recent memory has wrestled with the problem of inter-creditor equity. Governments have discriminated among creditors in ways that were hard to predict and often were not revealed until after a debt default. In contrast, debts of firms, individuals and even localities are ranked in order of priority established by contract and statute. This ranking is known at borrowing, generally corresponds to the order of repayment in bankruptcy liquidation, and helps define the creditors' relative bargaining power in reorganization. Without a bankruptcy backstop, most debts of national governments are legally equal. Yet in practice, sovereign immunity ...