Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Liquidation of Government Debt

Contents:

Author Info

  • Carmen M. Reinhart
  • M. Belen Sbrancia

Abstract

Historically, periods of high indebtedness have been associated with a rising incidence of default or restructuring of public and private debts. A subtle type of debt restructuring takes the form of “financial repression.” Financial repression includes directed lending to government by captive domestic audiences (such as pension funds), explicit or implicit caps on interest rates, regulation of cross-border capital movements, and (generally) a tighter connection between government and banks. In the heavily regulated financial markets of the Bretton Woods system, several restrictions facilitated a sharp and rapid reduction in public debt/GDP ratios from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Low nominal interest rates help reduce debt servicing costs while a high incidence of negative real interest rates liquidates or erodes the real value of government debt. Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by a steady dose of inflation. Inflation need not take market participants entirely by surprise and, in effect, it need not be very high (by historic standards). For the advanced economies in our sample, real interest rates were negative roughly ½ of the time during 1945-1980. For the United States and the United Kingdom our estimates of the annual liquidation of debt via negative real interest rates amounted on average from 3 to 4 percent of GDP a year. For Australia and Italy, which recorded higher inflation rates, the liquidation effect was larger (around 5 percent per annum). We describe some of the regulatory measures and policy actions that characterized the heyday of the financial repression era.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16893.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16893.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16893

Note: IFM ME
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. A Alesina & V Grilli & G Milesi-Feretti, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," CEP Discussion Papers dp0169, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Giovannini, Alberto & de Melo, Martha, 1993. "Government Revenue from Financial Repression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 953-63, September.
  3. Aizenman, Joshua & Guidotti, Pablo E., 1994. "Capital controls, collection costs and domestic public debt," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 41-54, February.
  4. Alberto F. Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2009. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending," NBER Working Papers 15438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2011. "A Decade of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 8310, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Vittorio Grilli & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," NBER Working Papers 4353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1982. "Monetary Trends in the United States and United Kingdom: Their Relation to Income, Prices, and Interest Rates, 1867-1975," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie82-2.
  12. Margaret McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  13. Fregert, Klas & Gustafsson, Roger, 2005. "Fiscal statistics for Sweden 1719-2003," Working Papers 2005:40, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  14. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 319-350, 05.
  15. Douglas W. Elmendorf & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1998. "Government Debt," NBER Working Papers 6470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
  16. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Easterly, William R., 1989. "Fiscal adjustment and deficit financing during the debt crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 138, The World Bank.
  18. Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D. & Qian, Yingyi & Wang, Yijiang, 2001. "Financial repression and optimal taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 245-251, February.
  19. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2010. "This Time is Different Chartbook: Country Histories on Debt, Default, and Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 15815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  21. Brock, Philip L, 1989. "Reserve Requirements and the Inflation Tax," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(1), pages 106-21, February.
  22. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 1999. "On the use of reserve requirements in dealing with capital flow problems," MPRA Paper 13703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  23. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. La loi de 1973 n'est pas la cause de l'endettement français ! Réponse à Etienne Chouard
    by contact@captaineconomics.fr (Le Captain') in Captain Economics on 2013-01-15 10:05:18
  2. Alimenter l’inflation pour réduire la dette publique ?
    by ? in D'un champ l'autre on 2014-06-14 17:29:00
  3. How public debt has been liquidated
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-17 15:07:00
  4. Lessons from the crisis
    by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2013-12-27 22:36:00
  5. Lezioni dalla crisi: perché il Parlamento dovrebbe sfiduciare la Commissione
    by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2013-12-28 18:32:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Economic Logic blog

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16893. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.