OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Public Debt in a Medium-Term Context and Its Implications for Fiscal Policy

This paper examines the problems raised by the recent sharp increases in the ratio of public debt to GNP in most OECD Member countries. When interest rates exceed growth rates, this development appears as a symptom of instability in public finances. The paper also analyses the evolution of public debt within the wider framework of the government sector's net worth. One particular aspect of this approach -- the implicit pension liabilities of governments -- is seen to have a significant bearing on the debt outlook in several countries. Finally, the paper assesses the sensitivity of the public debt profile under alternative fiscal policy settings ...


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