I am looking at sovereign debt as a percentage of GDP. However, due to external factors like exchange rates, the percentage may change from one year to the next even if a government did not borrow any money at all. I am therefore looking for an indicator that measures how much money a government has borrowed, rather than debt in terms of GDP.

Context: The economic policy of Mexico's president boils down to cutting expenditure and freezing public debt. Even though no new debt has been contracted, the percentage of sovereign debt in terms of GDP recently reached an all time high. I would like to separate the effects of interest rates, exchange rates and the recession from the amount of money borrowed by the Mexican government (which technically should be zero).


1 Answer 1

  1. You can find data for total government debt from world bank here.

  2. Debt to GDP is actually completely unaffected by exchange rates, inflation or other similar nominal factors which is the reason why economists actually prefer debt to GDP. For example, in terms of USD debt to GDP is $\frac{\\\$ \text{debt}}{\\\$ \text{GDP}}$, since the \$ is both in numerator and denominator, any change in exchange rate, or inflation or anything affecting value of dollar (or any other currency you want to substitute the dollar for), will actually leave debt to GDP unchanged. If you worry about effects of exchange rates you actually want debt to GDP not total debt.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.