Debt Sustainability for Low-Income Countries: A Review of Standard and Alternative Concepts
Governments in low-income countries have the difficult task of making wide-ranging decisions about public spending, taxation, and borrowing. Although we can analyze at length how both public spending and taxation can be designed and implemented to contribute to growth and poverty reduction, the biggest challenge that most developing countries face is in determining how much they can borrow without jeopardizing their long-term prospects. The objective of this paper is to introduce the key issues involved in debt sustainability analysis. We review the main approaches developed in the literature, starting from the traditional fiscal and external approaches and covering recent alternative frameworks, such as the debt overhang analysis and the human development approach (especially as it relates to the funding requirements for achieving the Millennium Development Goals).
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