How the Greek debt reorganisation of 2012 changed the rules of sovereign insolvency

This paper explores how the Greek debt reorganisation of 2012 changed the rules of sovereign insolvency. It considers the ways in which this particular sovereign bankruptcy could affect future sovereign bankruptcies.

There are at least 21 features, depending on whether you are a lumper or a splitter, which together represent a new momentum in the way of thinking in this field. Some of these 21 factors in one way or another had a precedent in some previous episode, but together they heralded either a novel direction that was unexpected or a dramatic confirmation of the underlying direction of previous trends.

Greece did not actually default on its debt. But for reasons explained in more detail later, Greece was bankrupt in the generic non-technical sense of the word: the country substantially reduced bondholder claims and needed a huge infusion of bailout cash from the public sector…

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