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International Economics Commons

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International Trade Law

Sovereign debt

2007

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Full-Text Articles in International Economics

Odious, Not Debt, Anna Gelpern Jan 2007

Odious, Not Debt, Anna Gelpern

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article argues that the doctrine of Odious Debt, which has enjoyed a revival since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, frames the problem of odious debt in a way that excludes most of the problematic obligations incurred by twentieth-century despots. Advocacy and academic literature traditionally describe the odious debt problem as one of government contracts with private creditors. Most theories of sovereign debt key off the same relationship. But in the latest crop of cases, including Iraq, Liberia, and Nigeria, private creditors represent a small fraction of the old regime's debts. Most of the creditors are ...