Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This Time is Not Different: Defaults in Europe Are Far More Common: Spain, Germany, Russia, France, etc

The Wall Street Journal has a piece today about defaults by European nations. They are far more common that most people think.

The article says that for those hoping to prevent Greece from defaulting, "they should know that history isn’t on their side".

According to economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in their 2008 paper “This Time Is Different,” (followed by a book of the same title, please see link below):

  • Greece has defaulted or rescheduled its debt five times since 1829.
  • The leader of the pack however is Spain: 13 times since 1476
  • Germany and France have both done it 8 times
  • The U.K. has never done it since William the Conqueror invaded in 1066
  • Greece, 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.
  • Russia is next highest, with 39.1% of years spent as a bad debtor after defaulting or rescheduling five times.
  • Hungary has defaulted or rescheduled seven times since gaining independence in 1918.

Their conclusion is "concluding that 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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