Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Lund Papers in Economic History,
Lund University, Department of Economic History

No 171: Managing a Century of Debt

John FitzGerald () and Seán Kenny ()
Additional contact information
John FitzGerald: Trinity College, Dublin
Seán Kenny: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: This paper provides a consistent series for the Irish national debt since the foundation of the state in 1922. It also provides a continuous series for bond yields over the same period. The paper examines the factors behind the fluctuations in the debt burden over almost a century. The management of the debt burden by the Irish authorities has evolved over time, seeking to minimise both the burden on the economy and the risks which the debt represented to the state. The paper also examines how the cost of borrowing for the Irish government compared to that for the UK and, since the break with sterling, for Germany. This cost of borrowing was, in turn affected by developments in the domestic economy.

Keywords: public debt; debt sustainability; debt management; fiscal policy; Ireland

JEL-codes: E62; H60; H63; N00; N14

39 pages, February 7, 2018

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