IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Liquidation of Government Debt

  • Carmen M. Reinhart
  • M. Belen Sbrancia

Historically, periods of high indebtedness have been associated with a rising incidence of default or restructuring of public and private debts. A subtle type of debt restructuring takes the form of "financial repression." Financial repression includes directed lending to government by captive domestic audiences (such as pension funds), explicit or implicit caps on interest rates, regulation of cross-border capital movements, and (generally) a tighter connection between government and banks. In the heavily regulated financial markets of the Bretton Woods system, several restrictions facilitated a sharp and rapid reduction in public debt/GDP ratios from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Low nominal interest rates help reduce debt servicing costs while a high incidence of negative real interest rates liquidates or erodes the real value of government debt. Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by a steady dose of inflation. Inflation need not take market participants entirely by surprise and, in effect, it need not be very high (by historic standards). For the advanced economies in our sample, real interest rates were negative roughly ½ of the time during 1945-1980. For the United States and the United Kingdom our estimates of the annual liquidation of debt via negative real interest rates amounted on average from 2 to 3 percent of GDP a year. We describe some of the regulatory measures and policy actions that characterized the heyday of the financial repression era.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work363.pdf
File Function: Full PDF document
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work363.htm
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 363.

as
in new window

Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:363
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centralbahnplatz 2, CH - 4002 Basel
Phone: (41) 61 - 280 80 80
Fax: (41) 61 - 280 91 00
Web page: http://www.bis.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Fregert, Klas & Gustafsson, Roger, 2005. "Fiscal statistics for Sweden 1719-2003," Working Papers 2005:40, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1-48, February.
  3. Easterly, William R., 1989. "Fiscal adjustment and deficit financing during the debt crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 138, The World Bank.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Vittorio Grilli & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," NBER Working Papers 4353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1982. "Monetary Trends in the United States and United Kingdom: Their Relation to Income, Prices, and Interest Rates, 1867–1975," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie82-2, October.
  6. Reinhart, Carmen M & Reinhart, Vincent R, 1999. "On the Use of Reserve Requirements in Dealing with Capital Flow Problems," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(1), pages 27-54, January.
  7. Douglas W. Elmendorf & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1998. "Government debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
  8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "A Decade of Debt," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6222, May.
  9. A Alesina & V Grilli & G Milesi-Feretti, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," CEP Discussion Papers dp0169, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, June.
  11. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-78, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," NBER Working Papers 13946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
  15. Brock, Philip L, 1989. "Reserve Requirements and the Inflation Tax," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(1), pages 106-21, February.
  16. 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.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2010. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 35-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Giovannini, Alberto & de Melo, Martha, 1993. "Government Revenue from Financial Repression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 953-63, September.
  19. Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D. & Qian, Yingyi & Wang, Yijiang, 2001. "Financial repression and optimal taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 245-251, February.
  20. Aizenman, Joshua & Guidotti, Pablo E., 1994. "Capital controls, collection costs and domestic public debt," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 41-54, February.
  21. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  22. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:363. 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: (Christian Beslmeisl)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.