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Public Confidence and Debt Management: A Model and a Case Study of Italy

Author

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  • Alesina, Alberto F
  • Prati, Alessandro
  • Tabellini, Guido

Abstract

High-debt countries may face the risk of self-fulfilling debt crises. If the public expects that in the future the government will be unable to roll over the maturing debt, they may refuse to buy debt today and choose to hold foreign assets. This lack of confidence may then be self-fulfilling. This paper argues that under certain conditions, the occurrence of a confidence crisis is more likely if the average maturity of the debt is short. Conversely, a long and evenly distributed maturity structure may reduce the risk. We consider the recent Italian experience from this perspective. In particular we ask whether recent developments in the market for government debt show signs of unstable public confidence and a risk premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Alesina, Alberto F & Prati, Alessandro & Tabellini, Guido, 1989. "Public Confidence and Debt Management: A Model and a Case Study of Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 351, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:351
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
    2. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    3. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-661, September.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
    5. F. Giavazzi & M. Pagano, 1989. "Confidence Crises and Public Debt Management," Working Papers 73, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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