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.
The paper explores the extent to which the pressure of debt service on other spending items may push governments to embark on fiscal consolidation beyond what is strictly necessary to secure solvency. The empirical analysis identifies thresholds of interest bill indicators beyond which governments appear to shift to policies aimed at durably curbing the debt trajectory. Hence, in the current context of high inherited public debts, countries experiencing rising borrowing costs and interest payments would be more likely to enact more aggressive fiscal consolidations than warranted by strict solvency concerns. Conversely, those benefiting from persistently low interest rates despite rising debt stocks would likely opt for a more gradual fiscal consolidation path than what solvency considerations would normally dictate.