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Debt Sustainability Assessment: The IMF Approach and Alternatives

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Abstract

Debt sustainability is an essential attribute of good macroeconomic policies but its precise definition is elusive and its assessment is even more challenging. The IMF has developed a sophisticated approach but it must be recognized that, because the future is unknown, any debt sustainability assessment is only valid within the bounds of the underlying guesses. There is no support for the view that added complexity allows for more precise assessments. As a consequence, policy conclusions drawn from debts sustainability exercises must be considered with care. Sacrificing growth – in the short and even in the long run – to imprecisely known risks can be very costly.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 03-2007.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in book not yet determined
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp03-2007

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Keywords: International Economics; Exchange Rates; External debt;

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References

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  1. Philippe D Karam & Doug Hostland, 2005. "Assessing Debt Sustainability in Emerging Market Economies Using Stochastic Simulation Methods," IMF Working Papers 05/226, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Jeremy A.Rogoff Bulow & Kenneth, 1986. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State 43, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. Chang, R. & Velasco, A., 1999. "Liquidity Crises in Emerging Markets: Theory and Policy," Working Papers, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University 99-14, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Márcio Gomes Pinto Garcia & Roberto Rigobon, 2004. "A Risk Management Approach to Emerging Market’s Sovereign Debt Sustainability with an Application to Brazilian Data," Textos para discussão 484, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  5. Eduardo Borensztein & Olivier Jeanne & Paolo Mauro & Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Marcos Chamon, 2005. "Sovereign Debt Structure for Crisis Prevention," IMF Occasional Papers 237, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Oya Celasun & Xavier Debrun & Jonathan David Ostry, 2006. "Primary Surplus Behavior and Risks to Fiscal Sustainability in Emerging Market Countries," IMF Working Papers 06/67, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Tito Cordella & Luca Antonio Ricci & Marta Ruiz-Arranz, 2005. "Debt Overhang or Debt Irrelevance? Revisiting the Debt Growth Link," IMF Working Papers 05/223, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. G. Lamé & M. Lequien & P.-A. Pionnier, 2013. "Interpretation and limits of sustainability tests in public finance," Documents de Travail de la DESE - Working Papers of the DESE, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, DESE g2013-05, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, DESE.
  2. Albuquerque, Bruno & Baumann, Ursel & Krustev, Georgi, 2014. "Has US household deleveraging ended? a model-based estimate of equilibrium debt," Working Paper Series 1643, European Central Bank.
  3. Salifou Issoufou & Edward F. Buffie & Mouhamadou Bamba Diop & Kalidou Thiaw, 2014. "Efficient Energy Investment and Fiscal Adjustment in Senegal," IMF Working Papers 14/44, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Mthuli Ncube & Zuzana Brixiová, 2013. "Public Debt Sustainability in Africa: Building Resilience and Challenges Ahead," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1053, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  5. Maximilien Kaffo Melou & Mariusz A. Sumlinski & Chris Geiregat, 2014. "An Application of the "Fan-Chart Approach" to Debt Sustainability in Post-HIPC Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 14/102, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Yibin Mu, 2012. "Striking an Appropriate Balance Among Public Investment, Growth, and Debt Sustainability in Cape Verde," IMF Working Papers 12/280, International Monetary Fund.

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