Sovereigns versus Banks: Credit, Crises, and Consequences

with Oscar Jordà and Alan M. Taylor — Journal of the European Economic Association, Vol. 14, Issue 1.

This paper studies the co-evolution of public and private sector debt in advanced countries since 1870. We find that in advanced economies financial stability risks have come from private sector credit booms and not from the expansion of public debt. However, we find evidence that high levels of public debt have tended to exacerbate the effects of private sector deleveraging after crises, leading to more prolonged periods of economic depression. Fiscal space appears to be a constraint in the aftermath of a crisis, then and now.

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