Abstract for: Towards An Early Warning System Of Sovereign Debt And Financial Sector Crises: The Case of Jamaica

This paper examines the relationship between sovereign debt dynamics and the stability of financial institutions using a system dynamics framework. The model, which builds upon the seminal work of Saeed and Parayno (1993), incorporates three heterogeneous banks, a central government and a rating agency. Further, the banks and the central government are assumed to be boundedly rational and backward looking interacting via both the local and international capital markets. The model is calibrated to conform to time-series data of Jamaica’s debt-deficit dynamics and banking system performance between FY 1997/8 and FY 2003/4 and then used to perform a set of counterfactual exercises based on the impact of exogenous hypothetical shocks to the Jamaican economy four years prior to the onset of recent the global financial crisis. Accordingly, the paper proposes an ‘early warning system’ for the vulnerability of banking institutions to a default on public debt. Scenario analyses, conducted using the framework, suggests that significant shocks to net international reserves and exports in 2004 would catalyze a significant fall-out of the banking sector in the near to medium term, with the country being more vulnerable to shocks to net international reserves. We close with some implications for prudential regulation.