YSI Conference on Debt Sustainability

Apr 28–30, 2023 Download .ics

Boston University Global Development Policy Center |

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Program PDF

The call for papers has ended 22 March. Registration to attend is open.

Discussions on the key conceptual and policy themes for sovereign debt sustainability with a view to proposing possible policy reforms.

The YSI Conference on Debt Sustainability hosted at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center on 28-30 April 2023 will discuss the key conceptual and policy themes for sovereign debt sustainability, the characteristics of the existing frameworks under which debt decisions and policies occur, and possible avenues for reform. It will, furthermore, explore the crucial implications of debt sustainability issues for wider global challenges of economic development, climate mitigation, and international cooperation.

The conference intends to equip young scholars and early career professionals with concepts and frameworks for dealing with debt sustainability in theory and practice and account for technical and political dimensions of the issues at hand. The topics are informed by renowned international experts from the academy and practice. We hope to inspire new economic thinking on these critical issues that concern the course of our global society.

The scope of the conference

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in sharp increases in public debt across the globe. While this holds true for all countries, rising public debt levels of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) are particularly worrying, with debt vulnerabilities being high in absolute terms and relative to pre-pandemic levels. More generally, there has been acceleration of private bond issuance from EMDC corporates in global capital markets in the past years. It is this system of debt issued in global markets that is now coming under strain.

The shock caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its economic effects on food and energy prices, supply chain disruptions and capital flow reversals has further increased EMDCs vulnerability. This, in turn, makes the prospects for EMDCs to roll over their debts more challenging.

The Fed and other central banks in advanced economies have responded with interest rate hikes which resulted in spillovers to EMDCs economies and triggered a reversal in capital flows and higher financing costs. As financial conditions tighten worldwide, borrowing costs increase and pressure is added on international reserves. The dollar’s appreciation, in turn, only puts more pressure on EMDCs’ balance sheets and aggravates debt sustainability problems for EMDCs, many of which are already at high risk of debt distress.

As a result, we expect a significant number of sovereign debt restructurings. The international financial architecture in its current form is not ready to deal with this highly challenging situation.

Confirmed speakers

  • Andres Arauz (CEPR, former runner up Ecuadorian presidential election 2021)
  • Lee C. Buchheit (retired, 43-year legal career, much of it devoted to sovereign debt management issues)
  • Orsola Costantini (UNCTAD)
  • C.P. Chandrasekhar (UMass Amherst)
  • Maia Colodenco (Secretary of International Relations, Argentina)
  • Thomas Ferguson (Institute for New Economic Thinking)
  • Kevin Gallagher (Boston University)
  • Jayati Ghosh (JNU, UMass Amherst)
  • Martin Guzman (Columbia University)
  • Hans Humes (Greylock Capital Management)
  • Robert Johnson (INET)
  • Yide Qiao (Shanghai Development Research Foundation)
  • Christina Laskaridis (The Open University)
  • Perry Mehrling (Boston University)
  • Lara Merling (Boston University GDP Center)
  • Walker Todd (former attorney and legal officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
  • Yan Wang (Boston University)

Program PDF here

Topics of interest for the call for papers

We invite early career researchers and young professionals to apply with preliminary or advanced work on topics of debt sustainability and its wider implications for international economic cooperation, industrial policy, climate mitigation and economic development. We particularly interested in work that explore issues of debt sustainability directly and that bridge debt sustainability concerns with wider economic objectives domestically and globally, including economic development, climate mitigation, international cooperation.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Debt sustainability and management

  • analytical and empirical studies of private and public debt markets
  • sovereign debt restructuring and crisis resolution mechanisms
  • institutional arrangements and debt management
  • proposals for debt sustainability
  • development banks and green finance

Implications of debt sustainability on the policy space for peripheral states, economic development strategies and mitigating climate change

  • industrial policy, economic development strategies and the green transition
  • international economic governance
  • balance of payments crises
  • management of the international financial system- industrial policy, green transition, climate mitigation policies

We welcome a wide range of theoretical and practical perspectives on the issues.

Important Notice:

  1. For participants applying from outside the United States the deadline for the application is 15 March 2023 to facilitate the process of Visa applications (which are not guaranteed).
  2. For those who do not require a Visa to enter the United States or those based in the United States the application deadline is 22 March 2023.

Organizing Committee
Jay Pocklington (YSI)
Lara Merling (Boston University GDP Center)
Christina Mosalagae (University of Turin)
Mridhu Khanna (Boston University)
Sam Igo (Boston University)

Scientific Committee

  • Orsola Constantini (UNCTAD)
  • Tom Ferguson (Institute for New Economic Thinking)
  • Martin Guzman (Columbia University)
  • Perry Mehrling (Boston University)

For more information or queries, please contact: [email protected]

We are thankful for the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


Meet the leaders and scholars whose new thinking guides our work. View all speakers

  • Martin Guzman

    Visiting Professor, Public Policy in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University

  • Jayati Ghosh

    Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Former Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  • Rob Johnson

    President, INET

  • Perry G. Mehrling

    Academic Council, INET

  • Marc Flandreau

    Howard Marks Professor of Economic History, University of Pennsylvania

  • Kevin Gallagher

    Interim Dean of the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

    Director of the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, Boston University

  • Andrés Arauz

    Former Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent, Ecuador

  • Thomas Ferguson

    Research Director, INET

  • ​Orsola Costantini

    Economic Affairs Officer​, UNCTAD

  • Daniel Munevar

    Coordinator YSI Latin America Working Group, INET

  • Walker Todd

    Retired Lecturer in Finance, Middle Tennessee State University

  • Lara Merling

    Senior Policy Advisor, Global Economic Governance Initiative

  • Lee Buchheit

    Honorary Professor, Edinburgh Law School at the University of Edinburgh

  • Hans Humes

    President and Chief Investment Officer, Greylock Capital Management

  • YQ