About this book
The international debt problem has already generated a huge number of publications. Why then another publication? Many publications address macroeconomic implications of the debt problem, others investigate special new financing instruments such as debt equity swaps, others discuss the economic or legal aspects of debt reschedulings. This work of Walter Berger concentrates on the evolution of the financial side of the debt problem. This evolution is fascinating since it reveals a continuous expansion of the financial instruments being used and a surprising change in intercreditor relationships. While in the seventies equal treatment of creditors was not of much concern, this changed dramatically in the eighties. But lately equal treatment turned out to be a strong impediment to the creditors' management of loan portfolios. Hence, inequality of treatment is growing again. This development represents a challenge to everyone who tries to explain legal changes by using economic theory. Another characteristic of Walter Berger's work is that he starts from a broad institutional perspective. Most economists analyze the debt problem by assuming a world where everybody follows the same principles of rationality and optimization. Walter Berger questions this approach by arguing that cultural discrepancies among creditor countries and indebted countries make it difficult to define efficiency by "Western" standards only. Moreover, different cultures create what Berger calls "institutional obfuscation", that is, creditors have substantial difficulties to predict the behavior of differently minded debtors, and vice versa. This lack of information creates a transaction risk for each contracting party.
development efficiency financial policy inequality information institutions macroeconomics management optimization organization portfolio restructuring scheduling strategy swaps