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Can this time be different? Policy options in times of rising debt

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  • M.Ayhan Kose
  • Peter S. O. Nagle
  • Franziska L. Ohnsorge
  • Naotaka Sugawara

Abstract

Episodes of debt accumulation have been a recurrent feature of the global economy over the past fifty years. Since 2010, emerging and developing economies have experienced another wave of historically large and rapid debt accumulation. Similar past debt buildups have often ended in widespread financial crises in these economies. This paper examines the factors that are likely to determine the outcome of the most recent debt wave, and considers policy options to help reduce the likelihood that it ends again in widespread crises. It reports two main results. First, the rapid increase in debt has made emerging and developing economies more vulnerable to shifts in market sentiment, notwithstanding historically low global interest rates. Second, policy options are available to lower the likelihood of financial crises, and to help manage the adverse impacts of crises when they do occur. These include sound debt management, strong monetary and fiscal frameworks, and robust bank supervision and regulation. The post crisis debt buildup has coincided with a period of subdued growth as well as the emergence of non-traditional creditors. As a result, policy priorities also need to ensure that debt is spent on productive purposes to improve growth prospects and that all debt related transactions are transparently reported.

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  • M.Ayhan Kose & Peter S. O. Nagle & Franziska L. Ohnsorge & Naotaka Sugawara, 2020. "Can this time be different? Policy options in times of rising debt," CAMA Working Papers 2020-23, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2020-23
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    Cited by:

    1. M. Ayhan Kose & Peter Nagle & Franziska Ohnsorge & Naotaka Sugawara, 2021. "What has been the impact of COVID-19 on debt? Turning a wave into a tsunami," CAMA Working Papers 2021-99, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Koh,Wee Chian & Yu,Shu, 2020. "A Decade after the 2009 Global Recession : Macroeconomic and Financial Sector Policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9289, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial crises; currency crises; debt crises; banking crises; public debt; private debt; external debt.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy; Modern Monetary Theory
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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