Twentieth Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference

Debt: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly

November 7-8, 2019

Live Webcast: Discussion with Olivier Blanchard and Ken Rogoff, Nov. 8, 4:00pm

The International Monetary Fund held the Twentieth Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference at its headquarters in Washington DC on November 7-8, 2019.

Global debt has reached a new record, standing now at over 230 percent of world output. Not all debt is the same, nor is it evenly distributed across countries, regions or sectors. Debt can facilitate the expansion of productive investment, including the funds to repair and expand infrastructure necessary for continued economic growth. At the same time, debt overhang and increased debt service can leave economies vulnerable to rollover risk, sudden tightening of credit and even default. Given the prominence of higher debt across advanced, emerging, frontier markets as well as in low-income countries, this year’s conference focused on “Debt: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly,” and brought together researchers and policymakers to discuss innovative research in this area and facilitate the exchange of views.

For questions regarding the conference, please email

** NOTE: Live webcast available on this page ONLY for the Opening Remarks, Mundell-Fleming Lecture by Jeremy Stein, and the discussion on Public Debt and Fiscal Policy with Olivier Blanchard and Ken Rogoff **

Thursday, November 7, 2019

8:00–9:00 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00–9:15 a.m.

Opening Remarks—Kristalina Georgieva (Managing Director, IMF)
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9:15–10:45 a.m.

Session 1: Measuring Debt
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Chair: Vítor Gaspar (Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF)

China’s Overseas Lending

Sebastian Horn (University of Munich and Kiel Institute for the World Economy), Carmen M. Reinhart (Harvard Kennedy School), and Christoph Trebesch (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

Discussant: Chris Papageorgiou (IMF)

Deception, Self Deception, and Sovereign Debt Statistics

Camilo Alvarez (University of Minnesota and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis), Daniel Dias (Federal Reserve Board), Christine Richmond (IMF), and Mark Wright (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Discussant: Jeromin Zettelmeyer (IMF)

10:45–11:00 a.m.

*** Coffee Break ***

11:00–1:00 p.m.

Session 2: Sovereign Debt
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Chair: Martin Mühleisen (Director, Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, IMF)

On Debt and Unions

Fernando Broner (CREI, UPF, and Barcelona GSE), Alberto Martin(European Central Bank, CREI, UPF, and Barcelona GSE), and Jaume Ventura (CREI, UPF, and Barcelona GSE)

Discussant: Philippe Martin (Sciences Po)

Restructuring Sovereign Bonds: Holdouts, Haircuts and the Effectiveness of CACs

Chuck Fang (The Wharton School), Julian Schumacher (European Central Bank), and Christoph Trebesch (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

Discussant: Marcos Chamon (IMF)

Monetary Policy and Sovereign Risk in Emerging Economies

Cristina Arellano (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and University of Minnesota), Yan Bai (University of Rochester), and Gabriel Mihalache (Stony Brook University)

Discussant: Luigi Bocola (Stanford University)

1:00–2:15 p.m.

*** Lunch ***
(IMF HQ2 Atrium)

2:15–4:15 p.m.

Session 3: Exchange Rates and Corporate Debt
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Chair: Kalpana Kochhar (Director, Human Resources Department, IMF)

Exchange Rate Exposure and Firm Dynamics

Juliana Salomao (University of Minnesota) and Liliana Varela(London School of Economics)

Discussant: Vincenzo Quadrini (USC Marshall School of Business)

Exchange Rate Fluctuations and Firm Leverage

Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan (University of Maryland), Xiaoxi Liu (Bank for International Settlements), and Ilhyock Shim (Bank for International Settlements)

Discussant: Friederike Niepmann (Federal Reserve Board)

Dominant Currency Debt

Egemen Eren (Bank for International Settlements) and Semyon Malamud (Swiss Finance Institute and EPF Lausanne)

Discussant: Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (University of California, Berkeley)

4:15–4:30 p.m.

*** Coffee Break ***

4:30–6:00 p.m.

Mundell-Fleming Lecture: “Can Policy Tame the Credit Cycle?”
Jeremy Stein
(Moise Y. Safra Professor of Economics, Harvard University)

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Introduction by David Lipton (First Deputy Managing Director, IMF)

Friday, November 8, 2019

8:00–9:00 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00–11:00 a.m.

Session 4: Debt, Sustainability, and Economic Growth
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Chair: Sharmini Coorey (Director, Institute for Capacity Development, IMF)

Debt Sustainability and the Terms of Official Support

Giancarlo Corsetti (University of Cambridge), Aitor Erce (Independent Consultant), and Timothy Uy (Deloitte)

Discussant: Vivian Yue (Emory University)

r-g<0: Can We Sleep More Soundly?

Paolo Mauro (IMF) and Jing Zhou (IMF)

Discussant: Ethan Ilzetzki (London School of Economics)

Debt and Growth

Yun Jung Kim (Sogang University) and Jing Zhang (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

Discussant: Aart Kraay (The World Bank)

11:00–11:15 a.m.

*** Coffee Break ***

11:15–12:15 p.m.

Discussion: Sovereign Debt: Lessons Learned
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Moderator:Susan M. Collins (University of Michigan)

Debt and Entanglements between the Wars

Discussant and Book Contributor:Harold James (Princeton University)

Sovereign Debt: A Guide for Economists and Practitioners

Discussant and Book Contributor: Atish R. Ghosh (IMF)

12:15–1:45 p.m.

*** Lunch ***
(IMF HQ2, Atrium)

1:45–3:45 p.m.

Session 5: Credit, Monetary Policy, and Financial Regulation
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Chair: Christopher Erceg (Deputy Director, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, IMF)

Monetary Policy and Household Net Worth

Martin Harding (DIW Berlin and FU Berlin) and Mathias Klein (DIW Berlin)

Discussant: Luca Guerrieri (Federal Reserve Board)

Credit Disintermediation and Monetary Policy

Nicolas Crouzet (Northwestern University)

Discussant: Victoria Ivashina (Harvard Business School)

Borrower and Lender Resilience

Guido Lorenzoni (Northwestern University) and Anil Kashyap (University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

Discussant: Romain Ranciere (USC Dornsife)

3:45–4:00 p.m.

*** Coffee Break ***

4:00–5:00 p.m.

Discussion: Public Debt and Fiscal Policy
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Moderator: Gita Gopinath (Economic Counsellor and Director, Research Department, IMF)


Olivier Blanchard (Peterson Institute)
Kenneth Rogoff (Harvard University)

Disclaimer: This web page contains links to papers that will be presented at the 20th Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference (ARC). The views expressed in these papers are those of the authors only, and the presence of them, or of links to them, on the IMF website does not imply that the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management endorses or shares the views expressed in the papers.

Conference Organizing Committee: Emine Boz (IMF, Co-Editor of the IMF Economic Review), Guzman Gonzalez-Torres (Bank of Italy and IMF), Luciana Juvenal (IMF), Weicheng Lian (IMF), Giovanni Melina (IMF), Andrea Presbitero (IMF), Marika Santoro (IMF) and Linda Tesar (Editor-in-Chief of the IMF Economic Review and the University of Michigan)

Conference Coordinators: Tracey Lookadoo and Ariana Tayebi