Choi and Posner indicate that it is unclear whether the doctrine will improve the welfare of the population that might be subject to a dictatorship in terms of the odious debt doctrine. The traditional backward-looking defense of the odious debt doctrine, which suggests that the doctrine is costless because it releases a suffering population from an unjust debt, is seriously incomplete. Although in specific cases the benefits of loan sanctions may exceed the costs, the defenders of the doctrine have not made the empirical case that the net benefits are sufficiently high in the aggregate as to warrant routine application of loan sanctions to odious dictators. Therefore, in the absence of such a showing, there is no reason to think that the odious debt doctrine would be a desirable rule of international law.

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