IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/pal/imfecr/v59y2011i4p717-742.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Historical Patterns and Dynamics of Public Debt—Evidence From a New Database

Author

Listed:
  • S M Ali Abbas
  • Nazim Belhocine
  • Asmaa El-Ganainy
  • Mark Horton

Abstract

This paper introduces the first truly comprehensive database on gross government-debt-to-GDP ratios, covering nearly the entire IMF membership (178 countries) and spanning an exceptionally long time period (going back to 1880 for most advanced and some emerging economies). The paper then uses the database to document the evolution of public debt ratios in advanced, emerging, and low-income economies, and relate them to contemporaneous developments in growth, commodity prices, and debt relief, respectively. Finally, the paper identifies 129 large debt increases and decreases observed in 19 advanced economies over 1880–2007 and decomposes them into contributions from the primary balance, the interest-growth differential, and the stock-flow adjustment term (a composite of valuation effects and “below-the-line” fiscal operations). The analysis suggests a pattern of asymmetric contributions: the primary balance plays a key role in debt reductions, except during the post-WWII period (when the growth-interest differential was extremely favorable); while debt surges were often associated with large stock-flow adjustments, likely reflecting assumption of implicit liabilities and exchange rate changes and, for the cases of debt reduction, debt default.

Suggested Citation

  • S M Ali Abbas & Nazim Belhocine & Asmaa El-Ganainy & Mark Horton, 2011. "Historical Patterns and Dynamics of Public Debt—Evidence From a New Database," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(4), pages 717-742, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:59:y:2011:i:4:p:717-742
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/imfer/journal/v59/n4/pdf/imfer201124a.pdf
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/imfer/journal/v59/n4/full/imfer201124a.html
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza, 2007. "Currency Mismatches, Debt Intolerance, and the Original Sin: Why They Are Not the Same and Why It Matters," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices, and Consequences, pages 121-170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Carlos Marinheiro, 2006. "The sustainability of Portuguese fiscal policy from a historical perspective," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 155-179, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Dany Jaimovich & Ugo Panizza, 2010. "Public debt around the world: a new data set of central government debt," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 19-24, January.
    5. Easterly William R., 2001. "Growth Implosions and Debt Explosions: Do Growth Slowdowns Cause Public Debt Crises?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-26, February.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Mr. Julio Escolano, 2010. "A Practical Guide to Public Debt Dynamics, Fiscal Sustainability, and Cyclical Adjustment of Budgetary Aggregates," IMF Technical Notes and Manuals 2010/002, International Monetary Fund.
    9. 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.
    10. Easterly, william, 2001. "Growth implosions, debt explosions, and my Aunt Marilyn : do growth slowdowns cause public debt crises?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2531, The World Bank.
    11. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    12. 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.
    13. S M Ali Abbas & Jakob E Christensen, 2010. "The Role of Domestic Debt Markets in Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation for Low-Income Countries and Emerging Markets," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 57(1), pages 209-255, April.
    14. Ms. Cemile Sancak & Jan Gottschalk & S. M. Ali Abbas & Olivier Basdevant & Ricardo Velloso & Fuad Hasanov & Greetje Everaert & Stephanie Eble & Junhyung Park & Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte, 2010. "Strategies for Fiscal Consolidation in the Post-Crisis World," IMF Departmental Papers / Policy Papers 2010/008, International Monetary Fund.
    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. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    2. 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.
    3. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "A Historical Public Debt Database," IMF Working Papers 2010/245, International Monetary Fund.
    4. 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.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Takeshi Tashiro, 2013. "Crowding out redefined: the role of reserve accumulation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov, pages 1-43.
    6. Hileman, Garrick, 2012. "The seven mechanisms for achieving sovereign debt sustainability," Economic History Working Papers 42878, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    7. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Reinhart, Vincent & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2015. "Dealing with debt," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 43-55.
    8. Reinhart, Carmen & Kirkegaard, Jacob & Sbrancia, Belen, 2011. "Financial repression redux," MPRA Paper 31641, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Martin Weder, 2015. "Fiscal Adjustments and the Probability of Sovereign Default," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 81-110, February.
    10. Ms. Marialuz Moreno Badia & Samba Mbaye & Kyungla Chae, 2018. "Global Debt Database: Methodology and Sources," IMF Working Papers 2018/111, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Patrick Villieu, 2011. "Quel objectif pour la dette publique à moyen terme ?," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 103(3), pages 79-98.
    12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2015. "The Pitfalls of External Dependence: Greece, 1829–2015," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(2 (Fall)), pages 307-328.
    13. 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.
    14. Andrea F. Presbitero, 2012. "Domestic debt in Low-Income Countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1099-1112.
    15. Paolo Mauro & Jing Zhou, 2021. "$$r-g," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(1), pages 197-229, March.
    16. Daniel Fried, 2017. "Inflation, Default, and the Currency Composition of Sovereign Debt in Emerging Economies: Working Paper 2017-01," Working Papers 52385, Congressional Budget Office.
    17. Ibrahim Ari & Muammer Koc, 2018. "Sustainable Financing for Sustainable Development: Understanding the Interrelations between Public Investment and Sovereign Debt," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-25, October.
    18. Bruce N. Lehmann & David M. Modest, 1985. "The Empirical Foundations of the Arbitrage Pricing Theory I: The Empirical Tests," NBER Working Papers 1725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2015. "Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some Lessons Learned and Those Forgotten," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(4), pages 5-17, June.
    20. Jens Hilscher & Alon Raviv & Ricardo Reis, 2014. "Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment," NBER Working Papers 20339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    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:pal:imfecr:v:59:y:2011:i:4:p:717-742. 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: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ .

    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: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ .

    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.