FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2019 .004

Determinants of the Public Debt and the Role of the Natural Resources: A Cross-Country Analysis

Authors: Elkhan Richard Sadik-Zada, Andrea Gatto
Series: Economic Theory and Applications
Editor: Matteo Manera
Keywords: Public debt, Oil rent, Mineral rent, Defence spending, Developing countries
JEL n.: F21, F34, F36, G15, H6, N1, F3


This paper investigates the major drivers of the public debt growth in 184 countries. The underlying cross-country survey is conducted on the basis of the improved compilation of datasets on the central government debt for 2013. The study finds that oil abundance, economic growth rate, the share of mineral rent in the total revenue, and the interest rate payments for foreign borrowings have statistically significant impact on the growth of the public debt. In contrast, defence spending, unemployment rate, and inflation rate do not have a statistically significant impact on the public debt rate. Being a developing country has a statistically significant negative impact on the level of the central government debt. 


Suggested citation: Sadik-Zada, E. R., A. Gatto (2019), 'Determinants of the Public Debt and the Role of the Natural Resources: A Cross-Country Analysis', Nota di Lavoro 4.2019, Milano, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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