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How is the Debt Managed? Learning from Fiscal Stabilizations


  • Benigno, Pierpaolo
  • Giavazzi, Francesco
  • Missale, Alessandro


This Paper provides evidence on the behaviour of public debt managers during fiscal stabilizations. Such episodes provide valuable information on the way debt instruments are chosen because they allow the problem of policymakers' expectations of interest rates not generally being observable to be overcome. We find that governments increase the share of fixed-rate long-term debt denominated in the domestic currency, causing the conditional volatility of short-term interest rates to become higher, long-term interest rates to become lower, and the fall in long-term rates, that follows the announcement of the stabilization program, to become stronger. In contrast, conventional measures of the relative cost of issuing long-term debt, such as the long-short interest-rate spread, are not significant. This evidence suggests that debt managers tend to prefer long to short maturity debt because they are concerned with the risk of refinancing at higher than expected interest rates. However, when long-term rates are high relative to their expectations, they issue short maturity debt to minimize borrowing costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Benigno, Pierpaolo & Giavazzi, Francesco & Missale, Alessandro, 2001. "How is the Debt Managed? Learning from Fiscal Stabilizations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2655, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2655

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Geir B. Asheim, 1997. "Individual and Collective Time-Consistency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 427-443.
    2. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Per Krusell, 1999. "On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1156-1181, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vivian, Viviane Santos & Mendonça, Helder Ferreira de, 2010. "Gestão da dívida pública: a experiência do Brasil," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), May.
    2. de Mendonça, Helder Ferreira & Tiberto, Bruno Pires, 2014. "Public debt and social security: Level of formality matters," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 490-507.
    3. Vivian, Viviane Santos & Mendonça, Helder Ferreira de, 2008. "Public-debt management: the Brazilian experience," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    4. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2017. "Optimal Time-Consistent Government Debt Maturity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(1), pages 55-102.
    5. Bruno Pires Tiberto & Gabriel Caldas Montes, 2016. "A Importância Da Administração Da Dívida Pública Para A Construção Da Reputação Fiscal E Redução Do Risco-País: Evidências Empíricas Para O Brasil," Anais do XLII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 42ndd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 025, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    6. Begona Dominguez Manzano, 2005. "Reputation in a Model with a Limited Debt Structure," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 600-622, July.
    7. Montes, Gabriel Caldas & Almeida, André Filipe Guedes, 2016. "Compromisso fiscal, expectativas empresariais e produção industrial: o caso brasileiro," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 70(2), July.
    8. de Mendonça, Helder Ferreira & Nicolay, Rodolfo Tomás da Fonseca, 2017. "Is communication clarity from fiscal authority useful? Evidence from an emerging economy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 35-51.
    9. de Mendonça, Helder Ferreira & Machado, Marcelo Rangel, 2013. "Public debt management and credibility: Evidence from an emerging economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 10-21.
    10. Bruno Pires Tiberto & Helder Ferreira De Mendonça, 2014. "Social Security And Public Debt: Empirical Evidence For The Brazilian Economy," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 066, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    11. Marcio Garcia & Roberto Rigobon, 2004. "A Risk Management Approach to Emerging Market's Sovereign Debt Sustainability with an Application to Brazilian Data," NBER Working Papers 10336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bank for International Settlements, 2011. "Interactions of sovereign debt management with monetary conditions and financial stability," CGFS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 42.
    13. Sieg Gernot & Stegemann Ulrike, 2010. "Strategic Debt Management within the Stability and Growth Pact," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 61(3), pages 225-240, December.
    14. Helder Ferreira de Mendonça & Marcio Pereira Duarte Nunes, 2011. "Public debt and risk premium: An analysis from an emerging economy," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 203-217, May.
    15. Roberto Rigobon & Marcio Garcia, 2004. "A Risk Management Approach to Emerging Market’s Sovereign Debt Sustainability with an application to Brazilian data," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 24, Econometric Society.

    More about this item


    Credibility; Debt Maturity; Public Debt Management; Stabilization;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt


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