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.
We employ a duration model to study determinants of public debt cycles in 57 advanced and emerging economies over the 1960-2014 period, with a particular focus on the impact of financial cycles. The results suggest that the association between financial and debt cycles is asymmetric. Debt expansions preceded by overheating in credit and financial markets tend to last longer than other expansions, but there is no significant association between financial cycles and debt contractions. There is strong evidence of duration dependence in both phases of the cycle, with the likelihood of expansions and contractions to end increasing with the length of their respective spells. Higher initial level of debt increases the spell of contractions (persistence of adjustment effort hypothesis) and reduces the spell of expansions (debt sustainability hypothesis). This result is robust to the inclusion of global factors, openness, political stability, and debt crisis indicators as additional controls.