The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Kevin Ross, R. Brooks, Robert Powell, Ydahlia Metzgen Quemarez, Doris Ross, Mariano Cortes, Saqib Rizavi, Benoit Ketchekmen, and Francesca Fornasari
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
The external debt burden of many low-income developing countries has increased significantly since the 1970s. Developments in a sample of ten countries show that the main factors behind the buildup of debt were (1) exogenous (adverse terms of trade shocks or weather), (2) a lack of sustained macroeconomic adjustment and structural reforms, (3) nonconcessional lending arid refinancing policies of creditors, (4) inadequate debt management, and (5) political factors (civil war and social strife). Future policies should limit the need for external financing and create an environment conducive to diversifying export growth, managing debt more prudently, and basing economic projections on more cautious assumptions.