Re-Thinking Debt Burden: Going with the Flow?
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This paper provides an empirical framework for computing a flow measure of public debt called the debt-to-duration ratio. A ratio of this measure to GDP (DD-to-GDP) is a unit-free measure of debt burden interpreted as the percentage of income for debt service or repayment. Using monthly US Treasury data (1997–2018), we compare this measure to the debt-to-GDP ratio. The DD-to-GDP ratio is an alternative for use in discussions about sustainability of current levels of debt. An empirical test of the relationship between rising debt ratios and growth shows that duration has an important counteracting relationship with higher debt lowering growth but longer duration being associated with higher growth in the medium term.
KeywordsDebt Fiscal policy Duration Interest rate Debt management
JEL ClassificationE62 E66 E6
The authors wish to thank Adam Diehl for his helpful assistance.
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