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Public debt, North and South


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  • Reisen, Helmut


The recent rise in domestic public nonmonetary debt and in domestic bond yields is imposing a heavier burden on governments in countries like Brazil and Mexico than foreign debt does. This is a relatively new experience for developing countries but not for OECD countries. Reisen's discussion of rising government indebtedness, therefore, includes the experiences of four developing (Brazil, Mexico, Korea, and Indonesia) and three highly indebted OECD countries (Belgium, Ireland, and Italy). The major determinants for government debt rising are: 1) external transfers, which imply an internal transfer of resources from the private to the public sector, 2) fiscal rigidities, because of failure to broaden tax bases and cut government consumption, 3) high interest rates coupled with low growth of GDP, and 4) massive devaluation of the real exchange rate and big swings in value among key currencies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 253.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 1989
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:253

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Public Sector Economics&Finance; Banks&Banking Reform; Strategic Debt Management; Environmental Economics&Policies;


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  1. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1985. "Special Exchange Rates for Capital Account Transactions," NBER Working Papers 1659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Hofman, Bert & Reisen, Helmut, 1990. "Debt overhang, liquidity constraints and adjustment incentives," Kiel Working Papers 432, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Martin Grandes & Helmut Reisen, 2003. "Hard Peg versus Soft Float. A Tale of Two Latin-American Countries," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(5), pages 1057-1090.
  3. Helmut Reisen, 1991. "The Brady Plan and adjustment incentives," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 69-73, March.
  4. Bevan, David, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and the Budget Deficit," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 653-694, November.


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