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Sustainability of High Public Debt: What the Historical Record Shows

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  • Ritschl, Albrecht

Abstract

Proposals for reducing high public debt are sometimes viewed with scepticism, both because of adverse consequences for growth and political economy considerations. This paper looks into the debt history of Britain, Germany and France, to gain more insights into why national debt was accumulated and how it was reduced. The historical evidence studied here leaves only a limited role for public choice interpretations, as most of the historical debt record was dominated by international conflict. Whichever strategy towards reducing the debt burden was adopted, there seem to be no visible effects on long-term growth performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1357.

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Date of creation: Feb 1996
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1357

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Related research

Keywords: Debt Retirement; Default; Growth; Reparations; War Finance;

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Cited by:
  1. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "Reparations, Deficits, and Debt Default: the Great Depression in Germany," CEP Discussion Papers dp1149, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Bindseil, Ulrich & Winkler, Adalbert, 2012. "Dual liquidity crises under alternative monetary frameworks: a financial accounts perspective," Working Paper Series 1478, European Central Bank.
  3. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "War 2008 das neue 1929? Richtige und falsche Vergleiche zwischen der Großen Depression der 1930er Jahre und der Großen Rezession von 2008," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13, pages 36-57, 05.
  4. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "The German Transfer Problem, 1920-1933: A Sovereign Debt Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp1155, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Garrick Hileman, 2012. "The seven mechanisms for achieving sovereign debt sustainability," Economic History Working Papers 42878, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  6. Dufrénot, G. & Triki, K., 2012. "Why have governments succeeded in reducing French public debt historically and can these successes inspired us for the future? An historical perspective since 1890," Working papers 386, Banque de France.
  7. Schularick, Moritz, 2012. "Public debt and financial crises in the twentieth century," Discussion Papers 2012/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  8. Richard N Cooper, 2006. "Almost a century of central bank cooperation," BIS Working Papers 198, Bank for International Settlements.

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