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Guano, Credible Commitments, and Sovereign Debt Repayment in Nineteenth-Century Peru

  • Catalina Vizcarra (a1)

Peru's experience with sovereign debt during the guano boom is one of the most remarkable in the nineteenth century. Despite the country's ongoing political instability and poor capital market reputation, the price of Peruvian bonds soared shortly after settlement in 1849, and the country enjoyed relatively low credit risk until the 1870s. This article discusses the incentives Peru and its creditors faced, and explains how Peru's extraordinary performance in financial markets was founded on its credible commitment to service its debt with the guano proceeds.

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