Skip to main content

Sovereign Default in the US


In the absence of a judicial mechanism to reduce the debt burden of a sovereign member of our Union, the resolution process can be quick but perhaps too indifferent to the health, safety, and welfare of the affected residents. In this paper, I use evidence from the Arkansas state archives to provide a description of the events surrounding the default of the state in 1933. I examine the evolution of the negotiations, the outcomes, and the role of fiscal policy.

JEL Codes: N22, H74, G01, K10.
Keywords: sovereign default, municipal bankruptcy, Great Depression, Arkansas highway bonds


Suggested citation: Ergungor, O. Emre, 2016. “Sovereign Default in the US,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Paper, no. 16-09

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 11.30.17

    2017 Financial Stability and Fintech Conference

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Office of Financial Research, and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business invite you to attend the 2017 Financial Stability and Fintech Conference on November 30–December 1, 2017, in Washington DC. This year’s conference will highlight research and facilitate discussions related to the impact of innovation on financial stability, policy, and regulation.