In this note, the authors reexamine the issue of debt sustainability in a large group of advanced economies. Their hypothesis is that, when debt is in a moderate range, its dynamics are sustainable in the sense that increases in debt elicit sufficient increases in primary fiscal balances to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio. At high debt levels, however, the dynamics may turn unstable, and the debt ratio may not converge to a finite level. Such a framework allows the authors to define a â€œdebt limitâ€ that is consistent with a countryâ€™s historical track record of adjustment in the sense that, without an extraordinary fiscal effort, any debt increment beyond this limit would cause debt to increase without bound. This debt limit is not an absolute and immutable barrier, however, but rather defines a critical point above which a countryâ€™s normal fiscal response to rising debt becomes insufficient to maintain debt sustainability. Nor should this debt limit be interpreted as being in any sense the optimal level of public debt. Indeed, since this limit delineates the point at which fiscal solvency is called into questionâ€”and the analysis abstracts entirely from liquidity/rollover riskâ€”prudence dictates that countries will typically want to be well below their debt limit. Given a countryâ€™s normal pattern of adjustment, â€œfiscal spaceâ€ is then simply the difference between its debt limit and its current level of debt.
|Date of creation:||01 Sep 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC USA|
Phone: (202) 623-7000
Fax: (202) 623-4661
Web page: http://www.imf.org/external/pubind.htm
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/pubs/ord_info.htm|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfspn:2010/11. 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: (Jim Beardow)or (Hassan Zaidi)
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.