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Sovereign Debt Sustainability In Advanced Economies

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  • Fabrice Collard
  • Michel Habib
  • Jean-Charles Rochet

Abstract

We develop a measure of maximum sustainable government debt for advanced economies. How much investors are willing to lend to a country's government depends on the country's expected primary surplus, the level and volatility of its rate of growth, and how much debt the government expects to be able to raise in the future for the purpose of servicing the debt it seeks to raise today. We provide a simple formula that computes a country's maximum sustainable debt (MSD) as a function of four easy-to-estimate parameters. We further compute a country's theoretical probability of default (PD) as a function of its debt-to-GDP ratio. We finally calibrate our measures for 23 OECD countries and test the relation between sovereign yield spreads and our theoretical PD at prevailing debt levels. We find it to be strongly statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrice Collard & Michel Habib & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2015. "Sovereign Debt Sustainability In Advanced Economies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 381-420, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:13:y:2015:i:3:p:381-420
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12135
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Skott, 2016. "Aggregate demand, functional finance, and secular stagnation," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 172-188, September.
    2. Erica Perego, 2018. "Sovereign risk and asset market dynamics in the euro area," Documents de recherche 18-01, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
    3. Kazuo Nishimura & Carine Nourry & Thomas Seegmuller & Alain Venditti, 2015. "Growth and Public Debt: What Are the Relevant Tradeoffs?," Working Papers halshs-01269945, HAL.
    4. Javier Andrés & Javier J. Pérez & Juan A. Rojas, 2017. "Implicit public debt thresholds: an empirical exercise for the case of Spain," Working Papers 1701, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    5. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji & Calixte Ahokpossi & Claudio Battiati & Mai Farid, 2016. "A Probabilistic Approach to Fiscal Space and Prudent Debt Level; Application to Low-Income Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 16/163, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Robertson, D. & Tambakis, D., 2016. "Long-Run Debt Ratios with Fiscal Fatigue," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1674, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Collard, Fabrice & Habib, Michel Antoine & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2016. "The Reluctant Defaulter: A Tale of High Government Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 11299, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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