vendredi 8 juillet 2011

La Grèce indépendante : une nation historiquement en défaut de paiement la moitié du temps

    April 26, 2010, 11:55 AM ET

Default and Greece: History’s Judgment

By Matthew Dalton

If the Greek government, its creditors and the European Union are hoping to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt, they should know that history isn’t on their side.
While a European sovereign default has appeared inconceivable in recent history, defaults and debt reschedulings were actually a common feature of the European financial landscape throughout the nineteenth century and up until the end of World War II, according to the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.

Greece has defaulted or rescheduled its debt five times since gaining independence in 1829, the economists wrote in their paper “This Time Is Different,” published in 2008 and recently expanded into a book. Spain has the lead in Europe at 13 times since 1476. Germany and France have both done it 8 times, while the U.K. has never done it since William the Conqueror invaded in 1066.

Greece, however, has existed in a “perpetual state of default” since its independence, the economists write, having spent 50.6% of those years in default or rescheduling, easily tops in Europe. Russia is next highest, with 39.1% of years spent as a bad debtor after defaulting or rescheduling five times.

Hungary has perhaps the highest rate of default or rescheduling, having done it seven times since gaining independence in 1918.

Defaults and rescheduling in Western Europe went the way of the dodo since World War II, a fact that a number of economists attribute to the strong financial regulation that emerged in the post-War period. Of the countries that are now part of the EU, only Romania (1981, 1986) and Poland (1981) have defaulted since 1941.

But: “Major default episodes are typically spaced some years (or decades) apart, creating an illusion that “this time is different” among policymakers and investors,” the economists warn.

The authors, writing in 2008, say that Greece and a few other European countries have escaped their status as serial defaulters by integrating into Europe, but they end the paper with a prophecy: “Concluding that countries like Hungary and Greece will never default again because “this time is different due to the European Union” may prove a very short-lived truism.”
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