Journal Article

The Greek Debt Restructuring: An Autopsy


  • Trebesch
  • C.
  • Zettelmeyer
  • J.
  • Gulati
  • M.
Publication Date

The Greek debt restructuring of 2012 stands out in the history of sovereign defaults. It achieved very large debt relief – over 50% of 2012 GDP – with minimal financial disruption, using a combination of new legal techniques, exceptionally large cash incentives, and official sector pressure on key creditors. But it did so at a cost. The timing and design of the restructuring left money on the table from the perspective of Greece, created a large risk for European taxpayers, and set precedents – particularly in its very generous treatment of holdout creditors – that are likely to make future debt restructurings in Europe more difficult.

Kiel Institute Expert