Indebtedness data, some links


If you are looking for overall (not just public sector) indebtedness data, here are some useful links. The IMF released this interesting work lately, that extends what we seem to know in the context of advanced economies – that debt-driven recessions take longer to heal — to emerging markets (EM). There are some additional issues to ponder over, like EMs may be in even bigger trouble (than advanced economies) because they cannot execute countercyclical fiscal policy. (But just watching Turkey these days, I am not so sure about that.  EMs have a lot more fiscal space than they’ve ever had, and they have been using it, though the authors are probably right that they still have less room than most advanced economies.)

A key contribution of the IMF study is to look at the problem with an extended database. Parenthetically, the key data reference on private debt, as I understand it, used to be this work by the BIS, but IMF economists have constructed a more comprehensive database — on public and private debt — which is provided in the IMF’s October 2016 Fiscal Monitor here.

Finally, regarding total debt, I have found this (now relatively old) McKinsey study very useful, a key message of which is how the world has not deleveraged by all that much since the global financial crisis.