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Italian Public debt since national unification. A reconstruction of the time series


  • Maura Francese

    () (Banca d'Italia)

  • Angelo Pace

    () (Banca d'Italia)


The paper presents the results of a reconstruction of the Italian public debt series since national unification. Computations use today�s statistical methodology to obtain a database consistent with the national accounts. The reference sector is general government, not the state sector, as in many previous studies; the definition refers to consolidated gross debt (within and across subsectors). The database includes monthly times series for overall debt and its breakdowns by instrument and subsector. Given their frequency and length, the new data might be a useful tool for economic historians and students of public economics. The work briefly presents the methodology and describes public debt developments over the last 150 years. Compared with previous data, the new series show higher debt average. The project is completed by a methodological annex in which sources and methods are described in more detail and by a database with monthly time series for the debt, its breakdown by instrument and subsector, and the consolidating items. All three components are available on the Bank of Italy website; in the future the series will be updated monthly and will remain available on the statistical section of the website.

Suggested Citation

  • Maura Francese & Angelo Pace, 2008. "Italian Public debt since national unification. A reconstruction of the time series," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 31, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_31_08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gianni Betti & Neil Dourmashkin & Mariacristina Rossi & Ya Ping Yin, 2007. "Consumer over-indebtedness in the EU: measurement and characteristics," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 136-156, May.
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    4. Ampudia, Miguel & van Vlokhoven, Has & Żochowski, Dawid, 2016. "Financial fragility of euro area households," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 250-262.
    5. Andrea Neri, 2009. "Measuring wealth mobility," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 703, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Katarzyna Bankowska & Pierre Lamarche & Guillaume Osier & Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, 2015. "Measuring household debt vulnerability in the euro area," IFC Bulletins chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Indicators to support monetary and financial stability analysis: data sources and statistical methodologies, volume 39 Bank for International Settlements.
    7. Bucks, Brian & Pence, Karen, 2008. "Do borrowers know their mortgage terms?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 218-233, September.
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    10. Luisa ANDERLONI & Daniela VANDONE, 2010. "Risk of over-indebtedness and behavioural factors," Departmental Working Papers 2010-25, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabrizio Balassone & Maura Francese & Angelo Pace, 2011. "Public Debt and Economic Growth in Italy," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 11, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Virginia Di Nino & Barry Eichengreen & Massimo Sbracia, 2011. "Real Exchange Rates, Trade, and Growth: Italy 1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 10, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Mattia Cattaneo & Michele Meoli, 2013. "Investor protection and IPO survival in the Italian stock market," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on IPOs, chapter 7, pages 141-158 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Papadia, Andrea, 2017. "Sovereign defaults during the Great Depression: the role of fiscal fragility," Economic History Working Papers 68943, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

    More about this item


    public debt; economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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