The Motives to Borrow
54 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 2019
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.
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, F34, H63, E01, G21, H83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation