The aim of this paper is to assess the short- and medium-term impact of debt crises on GDP. Using an unbalanced panel of 154 countries from 1970 to 2008, the paper shows that debt crises produce significant and long-lasting output losses, reducing output by about 10 percent after eight years. The results also suggest that debt crises tend to be more detrimental than banking and currency crises. The significance of the results is robust to different specifications, identification and endogeneity checks, and datasets.
An overview of crisis episodes in emerging-market economies with a pegged exchange rate regime in the 1990s suggests that sizable explicit or implicit government deficits, or market perceptions of lack of fiscal sustainability, render these economies vulnerable to currency crises under high capital mobility. It is argued in the paper that vulnerability to crisis can be mitigated by signaling a phased fiscal adjustment that involves credible implementation of key structural measures. In particular, fiscal policy rules, such as the ones being adopted in a number of emerging-market economies, constitute a potentially useful tool of crisis prevention.