IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ecj/econjl/v121y2011i552p319-350.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt

Author

Listed:
  • Carmen M. Reinhart
  • Kenneth S. Rogoff

Abstract

There is a rich scholarly literature on sovereign default on external debt. Comparatively little is known about sovereign defaults on domestic debt. Even today, cross-country data on domestic public debt remains curiously exotic, particularly prior to the 1980s. We have filled this gap in the literature by compiling a database on central government public debt (external and domestic). The data span 1914 to 2007 for most countries, reaching back into the nineteenth century for many. Our findings on debt sustainability, sovereign defaults, the temptation to inflate, and the hierarchy of creditors only scratch the surface of what the domestic public debt data can reveal. First, domestic debt is big -- for the 64 countries for which we have long time series, domestic debt accounts for almost two-thirds of total public debt. For most of the sample, this debt carries a market interest rate (except for the financial repression era between WWII and financial liberalization). Second, the data go a long ways toward explaining the puzzle of why countries so often default on their external debts at seemingly low debt thresholds. Third, domestic debt has largely been ignored in the vast empirical work on inflation. In fact, domestic debt (a significant portion of which is long term and non-indexed) is often much larger than the monetary base in the run-up to high inflation episodes. Last, the widely-held view that domestic residents are strictly junior to external creditors does not find broad support.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 319-350, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:552:p:319-350
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Végh, 2005. "When It Rains, It Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 11-82, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters, in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton University Press.
    3. 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.
    4. Arellano, Cristina & Kocherlakota, Narayana, 2014. "Internal debt crises and sovereign defaults," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S), pages 68-80.
    5. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Stanley Fischer & Ratna Sahay & Carlos A. Végh, 2002. "Modern Hyper- and High Inflations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 837-880, September.
    7. Mr. Olivier D Jeanne & Ms. Anastasia Guscina, 2006. "Government Debt in Emerging Market Countries: A New Data Set," IMF Working Papers 2006/098, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
    9. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2007. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle Is the Trend," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 69-102.
    10. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-178, February.
    11. Kevin Cowan & Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Sovereign Debt In The Americas: New Data and Stylized Facts," Business School Working Papers 2006-09, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 215-268, November.
    13. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
    14. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1991. "The Perils of Sterilization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(4), pages 921-926, December.
    15. Barry Eichengreen, 1991. "Historical Research on International Lending and Debt," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 149-169, Spring.
    16. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    17. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley, 1993. "Moderate Inflation," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(1), pages 1-44, January.
    18. repec:imf:imfops:220 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Robert J. Barro, 1983. "Inflationary Finance under Discretion and Rules," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 16(1), pages 1-16, February.
    20. Calvo, Guillermo A & Guidotti, Pablo E, 1992. "Optimal Maturity of Nominal Government Debt: An Infinite-Horizon Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(4), pages 895-919, November.
    21. Brock, Philip L, 1989. "Reserve Requirements and the Inflation Tax," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(1), pages 106-121, February.
    22. Chairman & Andrew D. Crockett, 1999. "General discussion : exchange rates and financial fragility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 411-422.
    23. Reinhart, Carmen & Savastano, Miguel, 2003. "Realidades de las hiperinflaciones modernas [The Realities of Modern Hyperinflation]," MPRA Paper 13657, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Mr. Stanley Fischer & Ms. Ratna Sahay & Mr. Carlos A. Végh Gramont, 2002. "Modern Hyper- and High Inflations," IMF Working Papers 2002/197, International Monetary Fund.
    25. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1989. "Is Inflation Effective for Liquidating Short-Term Nominal Debt?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(4), pages 950-960, December.
    26. 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.
    27. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
    28. Sargent, Thomas J & Velde, Francois R, 1995. "Macroeconomic Features of the French Revolution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 474-518, June.
    29. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange rates and financial fragility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 329-368.
    30. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-677, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Rong Qian & Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "On Graduation from Default, Inflation and Banking Crises: Elusive or Illusion?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 1-36, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2010. "Monetary Policy in Emerging Markets," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1439-1520, Elsevier.
    3. Medas, Paulo & Poghosyan, Tigran & Xu, Yizhi & Farah-Yacoub, Juan & Gerling, Kerstin, 2018. "Fiscal crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 191-207.
      • Mr. Paulo A Medas & Mr. Tigran Poghosyan & Mrs. Kerstin Gerling & Yizhi Xu & Juan Farah-Yacoub, 2017. "Fiscal Crises," IMF Working Papers 2017/086, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "A Decade of Debt," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Miguel Fuentes D. & Claudio E. Raddatz & Carmen M. Reinhart (ed.),Capital Mobility and Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 18, chapter 4, pages 97-135, Central Bank of Chile.
    5. Bordo, M.D. & Meissner, C.M., 2016. "Fiscal and Financial Crises," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 355-412, Elsevier.
    6. Nicola Gennaioli & Alberto Martin & Stefano Rossi, 2014. "Sovereign Default, Domestic Banks, and Financial Institutions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 819-866, April.
    7. Aguiar, Mark & Amador, Manuel, 2014. "Sovereign Debt," Handbook of International Economics, in: Gopinath, G. & Helpman, . & Rogoff, K. (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 647-687, Elsevier.
    8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
    9. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
    11. Jeanneret, Alexandre & Souissi, Slim, 2016. "Sovereign defaults by currency denomination," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 197-222.
    12. Mr. Luis Catão & Sandeep Kapur & Ms. Ana L Fostel, 2007. "Persistent Gaps, Volatility Types, and Default Traps," IMF Working Papers 2007/148, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Falilou Fall & Debra Bloch & Jean-Marc Fournier & Peter Hoeller, 2015. "Prudent debt targets and fiscal frameworks," OECD Economic Policy Papers 15, OECD Publishing.
    14. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Karatas, Bilge, 2013. "Three Sisters: The Interlinkage between Sovereign Debt, Currency and Banking Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 9369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Catão, Luis A.V. & Fostel, Ana & Kapur, Sandeep, 2009. "Persistent gaps and default traps," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 271-284, July.
    16. Sabaté, Marcela & Fillat, Carmen & Escario, Regina, 2019. "Budget deficits and money creation: Exploring their relation before Bretton Woods," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 38-56.
    17. Eberhardt, Markus, 2018. "(At Least) Four Theories for Sovereign Default," CEPR Discussion Papers 13084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Hausmann Ricardo & Panizza Ugo, 2011. "Redemption or Abstinence? Original Sin, Currency Mismatches and Counter Cyclical Policies in the New Millennium," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-35, August.
    19. Karatas, B., 2014. "Financial crisis and monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 41e463f0-e122-4379-8db5-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    20. Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2009. "The Economics and Law of Sovereign Debt and Default," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 651-698, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:552:p:319-350. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing or Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.