Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance, Vol. 21, No. 2 (2016)
Stephen Park, Tim R. Samples
Sovereigns are unique market participants in the global financial system, and sovereign debt markets largely operate in a legal and regulatory void. This Article adds an important and timely perspective by examining the concept of equity in sovereign debt finance. Governments, unlike corporations, rely almost exclusively on debt to externally finance their investments and operations. GDP-linked securities, which provide interest payments indexed to the sovereign issuer’s rate of growth, are sovereign debt instruments with certain equity-like characteristics. This Article considers whether innovation towards sovereign equity can help mitigate problems associated with sovereign debt crises. To address this question, we analyze the use of GDP-linked securities in recent sovereign debt restructurings by Argentina, Greece, and Ukraine. Drawing on this analysis, we explore more broadly the legal implications of sovereign equity, and conclude that these applications offer opportunities to help manage sovereign finance in the absence of readily enforceable international financial regulation. Full article.