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Debt Sustainability in Historical Perspective: The Role of Fiscal Repression

Mauricio Drelichman and Hans-Joachim Voth

Journal of the European Economic Association, 2008, vol. 6, issue 2-3, 657-667

Abstract: This article examines the debt history of two contenders for European hegemony: 16th-century Spain and 18th-century Britain. We analyze their fiscal behavior using measures of overborrowing and fiscal policy functions. Our results suggest that stringency was not key for Britain's success in avoiding default. Instead, fiscal repression allowed the United Kingdom to borrow at below-market rates, thereby outspending its continental rivals. (JEL: E4, F41, N23) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

JEL-codes: E4 F41 N23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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