New Directions in the Relationship between Public and Private Debt
31 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2007 Last revised: 24 Jun 2010
Date Written: March 1987
Until the 1980s the outstanding indebtedness of government and private-sector borrowers in the United States exhibited sufficient negative covariation that total outstanding debt remained steady relative to nonfinancial economic activity. Three hypotheses -- one based on lenders' behavior, one on borrowers? behavior, and one on credit market institutional arrangements -- provide potential explanations for this phenomenon. Since 1980 the U.S. debt markets have departed from these previously prevailing patterns, however, as both government and private borrowing have risen sharply.
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