Sovereign Debt in Latin America, 1820-1913

GERARDO DELLA PAOLERA, ALAN M. TAYLOR
REVISTA DE HISTORIA ECONÓMICA/JOURNAL OF IBERIAN AND LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY 31.2 (2013): 173-217

This paper examines sovereign lending to Latin America and the Caribbean from 1820 to 1913. We examine four waves of capital flows where defaults were followed by a return to market access. In spite of extended default, countries kept promising high returns that attracted international investors again and again: financial autarky thus gave way to eras of high integration to global markets as measured by sovereign risk pricing. We discuss imperfections of the sovereign debt institutional context in the region and discuss a menu of options that some countries used to seek funds in the global financial markets after defaults. The parallel with the modern Latin American and Caribbean sovereign bond market experience is striking.