Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

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© 2017 Katherine G Krey


In July 2014, Argentina entered selective default, even as the country remained financially solvent. The default stemmed not from economic woes, but rather from protracted international litigation between Argentina and a group of hedge funds who, for years, refused to negotiate with Argentina over their bond holdings in the wake of the country’s first default in 2001. These holdouts stalled negotiations and locked Argentina out of international credit markets, damaging the country’s economy and financially harming other creditors and Argentinian citizens alike. Argentina ended up in such a dilemma because of the current sovereign debt restructuring process.

No international arbitrator of sovereign debt currently exists. Instead, a country must negotiate with creditors on an ad-hoc basis, gathering support from 100% of creditors before it can restructure its debt and reenter international credit markets, an extremely inefficient system. This paper will assess the current system of sovereign default renegotiations, identifying inefficiencies in the current system, reviewing past proposals for improvements to the system, and ultimately proposing an international arbitrator for default negotiations. This text uses the development of the US Federal Municipal Bankruptcy Act of 1934 as a guide for an international bankruptcy court. Prior to the passage of the law, municipalities faced many of the same challenges faced by defaulted nations today, including powerful holdouts and a lack of structure in the negotiation system. Given the similarities between the two cases, the Federal Municipal Bankruptcy Act serves as an ideal framework for sovereign default arbitration internationally.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.