Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



sovereign debt, collective action clauses, euro, eurozone


On January 1, 2013, it became mandatory that every new sovereign bond issued by a member of the European Monetary Union include a new contract clause called a Collective Action Clause or CAC. This, we believe, constituted the biggest one-time change to the terms of sovereign debt contracts in history, impacting a market of many trillions of euros. And it was not just that the change was big in terms of the size of the market it impacted; it was big in terms of its impact on the documentation of each individual Euro area sovereign bond contract. To illustrate, prior to January 1, 2013, all of the terms of a local-law Irish sovereign bond fitted on about a page and a half; the full document was about three pages long. After January 1, 2013, the document was twenty pages long; almost all of that space taken by the new CAC term. In terms of words on the page, it was a big change. But did it do anything meaningful? And, more importantly, did it do what it was intended to do?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Public debts, Debt relief, Eurozone