Public Debt and Financial Crises in the Twentieth Century

European Economic Review, Vol. 19, Issue 6, pp. 881-897.

The costs of wars have been the main driver of public debt in the Western World during the modern era. The late twentieth century stands out as a period that saw a pronounced increase of government debt to GDP ratios in peacetime. This paper assesses the role that financial crises have played in shaping the public debt trajectory in the twentieth century.

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