Odious Debt

Definition of 'Odious Debt'


Money borrowed by one country from another country and then misappropriated by national rulers. A nation's debt becomes odious debt when government leaders use borrowed funds in ways that don't benefit or even oppress citizens. Some legal scholars argue that successor governments should not be held accountable for odious debt incurred by earlier regimes, but there is no consensus on how odious debt should actually be treated. In practice, countries often end up repaying it to uphold their ability to borrow at favorable interest rates.

Investopedia explains 'Odious Debt'


Legal scholars have identified regimes associated with odious debt in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Haiti, South Africa, Congo, Niger, Croatia and other countries whose rulers have looted national funds for their personal accounts or used the money to restrict liberties and inflict violence on their own citizens. In the European debt crisis of the early 2010s, some critics called Greek's debt odious.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. National Best Bid and Offer - NBBO

    A term applying to the SEC requirement that brokers must guarantee customers the best available ask price when they buy securities and the best available bid price when they sell securities.
  2. Maintenance Margin

    The minimum amount of equity that must be maintained in a margin account. In the context of the NYSE and FINRA, after an investor has bought securities on margin, the minimum required level of margin is 25% of the total market value of the securities in the margin account.
  3. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
  4. Degree Of Financial Leverage - DFL

    A ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. Degree of Financial Leverage (DFL) measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
  5. Jeff Bezos

    Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for founding online retail giant Amazon.com.
  6. Re-fracking

    Re-fracking is the practice of returning to older wells that had been fracked in the recent past to capitalize on newer, more effective extraction technology. Re-fracking can be effective on especially tight oil deposits – where the shale products low yields – to extend their productivity.
Trading Center