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The Aftermath of Debt Surges

Author

Listed:
  • M. Ayhan Kose

    (World Bank, Prospects Group, Brookings Institution, CEPR, and CAMA)

  • Franziska Ohnsorge

    (World Bank, Prospects Group, CEPR, and CAMA)

  • Carmen Reinhart

    (World Bank, Harvard Kennedy School, NBER, CEPR)

  • Kenneth Rogoff

    (Harvard University, NBER)

Abstract

Debt in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) is at its highest level in half a century. In about nine out of 10 EMDEs, debt is higher now than it was in 2010 and, in half of the EMDEs, debt is more than 30 percentage points of gross domestic product higher. Historically, elevated debt levels increased the incidence of debt distress, particularly in EMDEs and particularly when financial market conditions turned less benign. This paper reviews an encompassing menu of options that have, in the past, helped lower debt burdens. Specifically, it examines orthodox options (enhancing growth, fiscal consolidation, privatization, and wealth taxation) and heterodox options (inflation, financial repression, debt default and restructuring). The mix of feasible options depends on country characteristics and the type of debt. However, none of these options comes without political, economic, and social costs. Some options may ultimately be ineffective unless vigorously implemented. Policy reversals in difficult times have been common. The challenges associated with debt reduction raise questions of global governance, including to what extent advanced economies can cast their net wider to cushion prospective shocks to EMDEs.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Ayhan Kose & Franziska Ohnsorge & Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, 2021. "The Aftermath of Debt Surges," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2119, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:2119
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    Keywords

    Debt restructuring; growth; inflation; fiscal consolidation; financial repression; wealth taxes.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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