A credit default swap (CDS) contract provides insurance against default. This paper incorporates the contract into a sovereign default model and demonstrates that the existence of a CDS market results in lower default probability, higher debt levels, and lower financing costs for the country. Uncertainty over the insurance payout when the debt is renegotiated explains why in the data, as the output declines, the CDS spread becomes lower than the bond spread. Finally, my results show that the 2012 CDS naked ban, that decreased the levels of CDS for European countries, is a welfare reducing policy. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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