Following off the back of this question on debt-to-GDP vs. debt held by public-to-GDP - Difference between "Debt Held by the Public" and "Total Public Debt Outstanding"?:

So in principle, the difference is that with debt held by public-to-GDP, treasuries that are owned by government agencies are not included in the statistic, but could somebody please provide some more detail on this?

  • What sort of government agencies are we talking about?
  • Is the debt that they hold financed by the agencies allocation from the government budget?
  • Or is the debt that these agencies hold financed by more debt?
  • Which of the two statistics are generally considered to be more important?
  • What is the point in government agencies lending the government money?
  • What is the point in government agencies receiving interest payments from the government?

Some of these questions are probably quite broad, but hopefully someone can shed some more detail on this topic.


1 Answer 1


A down-to-earth explanation (including why) that I found: https://www.thebalance.com/who-owns-the-u-s-national-debt-3306124

FRED blogs are also helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ Over time, links become broken. Please avoid link only answers, and at the very least quote the gist of the argument behind the link. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Aug 24, 2019 at 16:02

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