Greece and the Troika

The reason all of this is going on, of course, is that the Troika’s interests and Greece’s are far from aligned. The Troika wants to stop having to fund Greece, and therefore wants Greece to regain access to private markets as soon as possible. Greece, on the other hand, is more interested in domestic growth at this point, so long as the Troika will continue to provide funding while private markets are closed. At the margin, then, the Troika wants more fiscal constraints (and hoped-for access to bond markets in future), while Greece just wants to get out of recession and start seeing some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.

Or, put it another way. Greece wants long-term debt sustainability, which means growth. The Troika, on the other hand, is less interested in the long term: it just wants the private sector to take over in terms of funding Greece as soon as possible. And the private sector, while it does care about long-term debt-sustainability calculations, also cares about many other things, like governing law and the constitutionality of default and the probability that Greece will continue making bond payments even if Troika funding dries up.

That’s from Felix Salmon. Wise words, although I seriously doubt whether the Troika has done their analysis if they think Greece will be able to go to the markets with debt/GDP > 120 %.

He links to a paper, which — if you’re interested — is excellent: “Engineering an Orderly Greek Debt Restructuring” by Mitu Gulati and Jeromin Zettelmeyer.