Summary of You Never Give Me Your Money?

Sovereign Debt Crises, Collective Action Problems, and IMF Lending


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You Never Give Me Your Money? summary
The protocol for dealing with sovereign debt crises has had to evolve dramatically in recent times.


6 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

6 Style


Economists Marco Committeri and Francesco Spadafora present a timely analysis of the European sovereign debt crisis from the little-known perspective of the lending framework of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They examine the crisis’s impact on the framework, which the IMF established in the 1990s, and they focus on fundamental but unresolved issues surrounding the systemic nature of sovereign debt crises. Their working paper provides a useful historical context and important insights into crucial areas such as collective action issues and spillover impacts. Structure is not this paper’s strong point, so readers may have to persevere to follow the chronology. However, the authors do make it very clear that preventing the next sovereign debt crisis will require further reforms. Interestingly, their title echoes lyrics from the Beatles’ Abbey Road album that sum up today’s international sovereign debt scene pretty well: “You never give me your money / You only give me your funny paper / And in the middle of negotiations / You break down.” While this paper doesn’t offer any definitive solutions to the problems it depicts, getAbstract believes it is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the global financial establishment deals with the challenges of a sovereign debt crisis. If the analogy to the song holds, all will turn out fine, because, in the end, “All good children go to heaven.”

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the lending framework of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has evolved since the 1990s,
  • Why bonds’ “Collective Action Clauses” (CACs) are important in sovereign debt restructurings and
  • What further reforms the IMF instituted in the recent euro-area crisis.


All Together Now
Over the past three decades, international authorities have altered how they deal with sovereign debt crises to keep pace with changing global conditions and the increasing sophistication of financial markets. From the 1980s emerging-markets debt crisis to the 2010 Greece...
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About the Authors

Marco Committeri and Francesco Spadafora are economists at the Banca d’Italia, Italy’s central bank.

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