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The Motives to Borrow

Author

Listed:
  • Antonio Fatás
  • Atish R. Ghosh
  • Ugo Panizza
  • Andrea F Presbitero

Abstract

Governments issue debt for good and bad reasons. While the good reasons—intertemporal tax-smoothing, fiscal stimulus, and asset management—can explain some of the increases in public debt in recent years, they cannot account for all of the observed changes. Bad reasons for borrowing are driven by political failures associated with intergenerational transfers, strategic manipulation, and common pool problems. These political failures are a major cause of overborrowing though budgetary institutions and fiscal rules can play a role in mitigating governments’ tendencies to overborrow. While it is difficult to establish a clear causal link from high public debt to low output growth, it is likely that some countries pay a price—in terms of lower growth and greater output volatility—for excessive debt accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Fatás & Atish R. Ghosh & Ugo Panizza & Andrea F Presbitero, 2019. "The Motives to Borrow," IMF Working Papers 19/101, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:19/101
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    Cited by:

    1. Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Marta Gómez-Puig & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, 2019. "“Re-examining the debt-growth nexus: A grouped fixed-effect approach”," IREA Working Papers 201911, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jul 2019.

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    Keywords

    Domestic debt; Economic growth; Economic recovery; Real interest rates; Domestic currency debt; Sovereign Debt; Political Economy; Fiscal Policy; Growth; debt-to-GDP ratio; debt-to-GDP; countercyclical; Rogoff; debt accumulation;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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