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Cooperation, Commitment and Enforcement: Understanding the Ottoman Public debt Administration

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Abstract:

After 20 years of borrowing following the Crimean War, the Ottoman government defaulted in 1875 and declared the Decree of Muharrem in 1881, which led to the establishment of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration (OPDA). This paper aims to analyze the reasoning of the relevant actors (creditors and the Ottoman government) that led to this process. The paper focuses on two major dimensions of the organization. For the creditors, it was a result of a cooperative effort, which aimed to secure the repayment of foreign loans and to develop a monitoring and enforcement mechanism for future investments in the empire. The OPDA tied the interests of the bondholders to those of the administration and maintained coordination among the creditors. The strong enforcement mechanism created trust in the Ottoman bonds and benefited the government as well. For the Ottoman Empire, the paper develops a similar argument to that of North and Weingast and argues that the constraints on the sovereign enabled the Ottoman government to regain access to foreign capital markets at lower interest rates and helped to finance the modernization of the administrative system. Finally, the argument developed in the paper is supported with historical evidence regarding the flow of credits and foreign direct investments into the empire before and after the establishment of the OPDA.

Author's Keywords:

Sovereign debt, Foreign debt crisis, Ottoman economy,Ottoman debt
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Name: International Studies Association
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http://www.isanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Birdal, Murat. "Cooperation, Commitment and Enforcement: Understanding the Ottoman Public debt Administration" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii, Mar 05, 2005 <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p71340_index.html>

APA Citation:

Birdal, M. , 2005-03-05 "Cooperation, Commitment and Enforcement: Understanding the Ottoman Public debt Administration" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p71340_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: After 20 years of borrowing following the Crimean War, the Ottoman government defaulted in 1875 and declared the Decree of Muharrem in 1881, which led to the establishment of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration (OPDA). This paper aims to analyze the reasoning of the relevant actors (creditors and the Ottoman government) that led to this process. The paper focuses on two major dimensions of the organization. For the creditors, it was a result of a cooperative effort, which aimed to secure the repayment of foreign loans and to develop a monitoring and enforcement mechanism for future investments in the empire. The OPDA tied the interests of the bondholders to those of the administration and maintained coordination among the creditors. The strong enforcement mechanism created trust in the Ottoman bonds and benefited the government as well. For the Ottoman Empire, the paper develops a similar argument to that of North and Weingast and argues that the constraints on the sovereign enabled the Ottoman government to regain access to foreign capital markets at lower interest rates and helped to finance the modernization of the administrative system. Finally, the argument developed in the paper is supported with historical evidence regarding the flow of credits and foreign direct investments into the empire before and after the establishment of the OPDA.

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