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Sovereign finances survived the global recession, just barely in some cases, but now Puerto Rico and Venezuela are insolvent. While the reasons for their plight may differ, there are lessons common to all defaults that investors and citizens should heed.

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  1. The Long and Winding Road to a Haircut
    People queue to withdraw money from an ATM in Caracas Federico Parra/Getty Images

    The Long and Winding Road to a Haircut

    Nov 30, 2017 Carmen M. Reinhart predicts that key similarities between Puerto Rico and Venezuela will emerge as their debt sagas play out.

  2. Restructuring Debt in the Dark
    Venezuela Federico Parra/Stringer

    Restructuring Debt in the Dark

    Oct 6, 2016 Ricardo Hausmann & Mark Walker examine the perils holdout creditors now pose for countries, like Venezuela, facing sovereign default.

  3. A Step Forward for Sovereign Debt
    Coins of various currency.

    A Step Forward for Sovereign Debt

    Nov 9, 2015 Joseph E. Stiglitz & Martín Guzmán believe that restructuring should be subject to nine principles adopted in September by the UN.

  4. Puerto Rico in Crisis
    Puerto Rico flag Arnold Drapkin/ZumaPress

    Puerto Rico in Crisis

    Sep 2, 2015 Anne O. Krueger says that the US and the island's government both bear responsibility for the deepening crisis.

  1. jlevy3_MANDEL NGANAFP via Getty Images_imfworldbankmeetings Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

    The Bretton Woods Institutions We Need

    Joaquim Levy, et al. explain how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank can rise to current global challenges.
  2. gill6_NIPAH DENNISAFP via Getty Images_poverty NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

    The World Cannot Afford to Ignore the Poorest Countries

    Indermit Gill & M. Ayhan Kose warn that a growing gap between the world’s haves and have-nots will undercut global goals.
  3. summers14_TONY KARUMBAAFP via Getty Images_sudanfamine Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

    The World Is Still on Fire

    Lawrence H. Summers & N.K. Singh

    For the last several years, world leaders have made big promises and laid out bold plans to mitigate the climate crisis and help the neediest countries adapt. At this year's World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, they must demonstrate that they can fulfill these promises, rather than simply touting new ones.

    think policymakers need to get four things right to shore up the credibility of the international system.
  4. dross1_JACK GUEZAFP via Getty Images_israel JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

    Israel Must End the Gaza War

    Dennis Ross

    With the exception of the extreme right, no one in Israel wants to be stuck in Gaza, responsible for 2.4 million Palestinians, and facing a likely insurgency. Israel can end this war soon and save those hostages who are still alive, having demilitarized Gaza and set the stage for an alternative to Hamas.

    thinks the only strategic objective that matters is close – or close enough – to being met.
  5. prasad24_Michael M. SantiagoGetty Images_nyse Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

    A Weak, Uneven Global Recovery

    Eswar Prasad & Caroline Smiltneks explain why domestic political divisions and inflationary pressures jeopardize current market optimism.
  6. singer230_View PicturesPeter CookUniversal Images Group via Getty Images_cambridge View Pictures/Peter Cook/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    Will Cambridge Support Free Speech?

    Peter Singer examines the university’s ongoing case against Nathan Cofnas, a research fellow who advocates “race realism.”
  7. bp china economy1 CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

    Can China Get Out of Its Rut?

    China’s authorities have powerful economic-policy levers at their disposal to achieve their 5% growth target this year and put the economy on a more sustainable long-term growth path. But several trends – from the shift toward state capitalism to population aging to the loss of goodwill between Chinese and Americans – could thwart China’s ambition to join the ranks of high-income countries by mid-century.

  8. roach164_PEDRO PARDOPEDRO PARDOPOOLAFP via Getty Images_china development forum PEDRO PARDO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

    China Stifles Its Own Debate

    Stephen S. Roach bemoans the transformation of the country’s most important platform for open dialogue into a schmooze-fest.
  9. pdoyle1_ISSOUF SANOGOAFP via Getty Images_cfa franc ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images

    Leaving Africa’s Colonial-Era Currency Will Be Hard, But May Be Wise

    Peter Doyle considers how exiting the CFA franc zone could benefit Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, despite the challenges.

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