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A Cross-Country Analysis of Public Debt Management Strategies

Working paper by Melecky, Martin /World Bank, 2007

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This paper analyzes results of a survey on debt management strategies conducted by the Banking and Debt Management Department of the World Bank. The analysis focuses on (1) whether a public debt management strategy exists in a given country, (2) whether it is made public, and (3) in which form it is imparted. The paper analyzes the distribution of the latter characteristics over different regions, income groups, and levels of indebtedness using graphical analysis. Using regression analysis, it investigates the extent to which basic economic factors can explain the characteristics of public debt management strategies across countries.

Policy ReseaRch WoRking PaPeR 4287


A Cross-Country Analysis of Public Debt
Management Strategies


Martin Melecky


The World Bank
Banking and Debt Management Department
July 2007


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Produced by the Research Support Team


Abstract


The Policy Research Working Paper Series disseminates the findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development
issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the
names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those
of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and
its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.


Policy ReseaRch WoRking PaPeR 4287


This paper analyzes results of a survey on debt
management strategies conducted by the Banking and
Debt Management Department of the World Bank.
The analysis focuses on (1) whether a public debt
management strategy exists in a given country, (2)
whether it is made public, and (3) in which form it is


This paper—a product of the Banking and Debt Management Department—is part of a larger effort in the department to
understand the development of public debt management strategies. Copies of the paper are available free from the World
Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433. Please contact Martha Rosenquist, room MC7-126C, telephone
202-458-2602, fax 202-522-2101, email address Mrosenquist@worldbank.org. Policy Research Working Papers are also
posted on the Web at http://econ.worldbank.org. The author may be contacted at mmelecky@worldbank.org. July 2007.
(37 pages)


imparted. The paper analyzes the distribution of the latter
characteristics over different regions, income groups, and
levels of indebtedness using graphical analysis. Using
regression analysis, it investigates the extent to which
basic economic factors can explain the characteristics of
public debt management strategies across countries.





A Cross-Country Analysis of Public Debt


Management Strategies*




Martin Melecky#


Banking and Debt Management Department
World Bank


































Keywords: Public Debt Management; Strategy; Cost-Risk Trade-off; Strategic
Guidelines; Strategic Benchmark; Economic Indicators;
JEL Classification: H63, H74, O50












*
I am grateful to Marianne Sarkis for an excellent research assistance. I thank Phillip Anderson, Elizabeth


Currie, Lars Jessen, Tomas Magnusson, Eriko Togo, and Antonio Velandia for their comments and
suggestions. All remaining errors are mine.


#
Banking and Debt Management Department, World Bank, 1818H Street NW, DC 20433, USA, email:


mmelecky@worldbank.org






1 Introduction


Governments have to often borrow in order to …nance expenditures on public goods


and services that promote growth and increase nations’welfare. The decision of how


much to borrow is that of …scal policy which determines the targeted level of debt


based on a sustainability analysis of government debt. One concept of sustainability


relates to solvency, the ability of the government to service its debt obligations in


perpetuity without explicit default, Burnside (2004). Another concept put forth


by Burnside (2004) renders …scal sustainability a broader scope by relating it to


the government’s ability to maintain its current policies while remaining solvent.


Within the latter concept, one can discuss the types and consequences of …scal and


monetary policy adjustments needed to avoid future insolvency. Even more broadly,


this concept can encompass discussions on the optimality of …scal policy rather than


its mere feasibility.


Once the government decides on how much funding needs to be raised, it has to


further determine the form in which the funds will be delivered.1 In other words, the


government has to decide which debt instruments are going to be used to raise the


intended funding. Similar to any other private borrower, the government will seek the


best terms for its borrowing. However, given the size of government borrowing, the


analogy to a private investor might be misleading as none of the government’s choices


or policy actions is considered to be irrelevant for the equilibrium outcome,2 see e.g.


Missale (2000). A government’s seeking of the best borrowing terms refers to the aim


of minimizing the cost of borrowing within existing constraints while respecting the


government’s risk preferences (aversion). In other words, the government not only


aims to raise funding at low cost but also to structure the composition of its debt


portfolio in such a way as to minimize the impact of relevant shocks on its budget


1The variety of options that is available to the government certainly varies across countries
mainly with regard to their stage of development.


2One most common example being the possibility of crowding out e¤ect of government borrow-
ing, see e.g. Briotti (2005) or Elmendorf and Mankiw (1998), but also a crowding-in e¤ect of public
…nance can be expected, see e.g. Alani (2006) or Friedman B. (1978). Also, given the size of gov-
ernment debt portfolio its …nancial characteristics may constitute a systemic risk for the domestic
…nancial sector.


1




or long-term expenditure plan. The debt instruments for …nancing of government


debt are determined by the public debt managers based on the delegated authority


from the government.3 The debt portfolio composition is thus the policy instrument


of public debt managers.


The fundamental document that guides debt managers in their decisions and


operations is the public debt management strategy. The strategy is built upon foun-


dations (goals) stated in government’s debt management objectives. The debt man-


agement objectives are usually expressed along the following lines, see IMF and WB


(2001):


The main objective of public debt management is to ensure that the gov-


ernment’s …nancing needs and its payment obligations are met at the low-


est possible cost over the medium to long run, consistent with a prudent


degree of risk.


The debt management objectives also typically contain sections addressing the


government’s involvement in domestic bond market development and coordination


of its actions with …scal and monetary policies. The latter relates to the fact that the


objectives of …scal policy, monetary policy, and public debt management di¤er but


there are various interdependencies among their policy instruments, see e.g. Wheeler


(2004) or Togo (2007). Missale (2000) argues that the objectives of minimizing the


expected cost of debt servicing and minimizing risk are of little help operationally.


According to Missale the objectives are also unuseful as principles on which one


can construct benchmark portfolios against which the performance of debt managers


could be evaluated.4 He bases his arguments on the fact that meeting government


3The process underlying delegation of authority to the debt management o¢ ce to borrow and
execute related transactions in …nancial markets on behalf of the state is described in more detail
in IMF and WB (2001) and Wheeler (2004).


4Simple as it seems, it might be a di¢ cult task to evaluate performance of debt managers
against a benchmark portfolio as not achieving the benchmark may be desirable on some occasions.
One can use the analogy of the role of an in‡ation forecast in in‡ation targeting. Although, policy
instruments are used to anchor in‡ation expectations at the targeted level the actual future in‡ation
can end up away from the target due to the e¤ect of unexpected shocks or shocks that the monetary
policy does not want to counteract.


2




objectives is not an easy task to accomplish, especially in the absence of any theory


of the appropriate degree of risk-aversion that a government should exhibit, or more


generally elicit the preferences of society on this matter. Ideally, the debt manage-


ment objectives of the government including its risk preference (aversion) guide the


debt managers in the design of debt management strategy, and are re‡ected in the


chosen cost-risk trade-o¤.


Now consider the process by which the strategy comes about in practice. The


debt management strategy is proposed by the debt management authority or more


speci…cally its middle o¢ ce5 to the minister of …nance. The …nance minister then


reviews and approves the proposed strategy, often based on the input of the advisory


board for debt management. The advisory board can comprise representatives of


…scal policy, government administration, monetary policy, and other regulatory and


supervising bodies a¤ected by the course of the debt management strategy. The


review and approval of a debt management strategy at the level of a minister of


…nance is aimed at ensuring that the proposed strategy is consistent with the debt


management objectives of the government, including its preference for risk.


In general, the formalized debt management strategy can take two basic forms.


Either be presented in terms of guidelines or constitute a benchmark for the optimal


government debt portfolio. The former relates to a document which guides the debt


managers on types of risks that should be considered as relatively more important,


and thus indirectly points to the desired structure of a debt portfolio. Therefore,


the guidelines provide directions for future debt management operations rather than


quantitative targets. On the other hand, strategic benchmarks state explicitly what


are the desired risk characteristics of the optimal debt portfolio in a quantitative


manner. The strategic benchmarks can quantify the targeted risk characteristics of


the optimal debt portfolio either in terms of speci…c magnitudes or more often speci…c


ranges. The basic types of risks that debt managers should consider when designing


their strategy are discussed in detail in e.g. Wheeler (2004, pp. 17) while various


pitfalls arising in debt management and constituting hidden risks are discussed in


5See Wheeler (2004) and IMF and WB (2003) for detailed description of the organizational
structure of debt management authorities.


3




IMF and WB (2000, box 2). For the purpose of this paper we consider three basic


types of risks: (i) foreign currency (FX) risk, (ii) re…nancing (roll-over) risk, and (iii)


interest rate risk. Risk type (i) addresses the desired currency composition of the


debt portfolio, i.e. the relative weight on domestic currency versus foreign currency


debt. Further, the currency composition of the foreign currency debt itself can be also


addressed. Risk type (ii) addresses the desired maturity structure and redemption


pro…le of the debt. Risk type (iii) deals with the desired proportion of ‡oating as


opposed to …xed interest rate debt or, in some cases, the price-indexed debt.6


Another attribute of a debt management strategy that will be considered in this


paper is whether such a formal document is made public. The debt management


strategy is considered as public if it is published either in the annual report of the


debt management body, or made available on the respective website.


This paper aims to summarize and analyze the results of a survey on debt man-


agement strategies conducted by the Banking and Debt Management Department


of the World Bank. We will focus on three main …ndings related to the debt man-


agement strategies across countries. Namely, (i) whether a public debt management


strategy exists in a given country, (ii) whether it is made public, and (iii) in which


form it is presented, i.e. either in the form of guidelines or a strategic benchmark.


We will analyze the distribution of the latter characteristics over di¤erent regions,


income groups and levels of indebtedness using graphical analysis. Moreover, we


will use regression analysis to investigate to which extent selected economic indi-


cators can explain the characteristics of public debt management strategies across


countries. In expectation of the results we would like to set forth the following hy-


potheses. Namely, that increasing income levels increase the incidence of strategies;


that increasing levels of indebtedness show a positive but likely non-linear (hump-


shaped) relationship with the incidence of debt strategies; and that countries facing


larger shocks show lower incidence of debt strategies. To our knowledge this paper


6Regarding the ful…llment of a strategy one can also think of specifying the pace at which the
strategic benchmark should be reached, as the latter represents another level of the cost-risk trade-
o¤. More speci…cally, in order to move the current debt portfolio structure faster towards the
benchmark’s structure the debt managers would have to proportionally relax their cost considera-
tions as both restructuring of the debt portfolio or hedging can be costly.


4




is a …rst attempt to analyze di¤erences in public debt management strategies across


countries and contribute to better understanding of the development economics of


public debt management.


The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the an-


alyzed survey data and its collection. Section 3 contains graphical analysis of the


survey data across income groups, regions and levels of indebtedness. Section 4 car-


ries our regression analysis of the survey data using economic indicators as candidate


explanatory variables. Section 5 provides a summary of …ndings and conclusions.


2 The Survey Data


Progressing in the e¤orts to better understand the development economics of public


debt management strategies across di¤erent country groups and individual coun-


tries, the Banking and Debt Management Department of the World Bank conducted


a survey on public debt management strategies. The survey was carried out during


the period from August 2006 to February 2007 and covers OECD, IBRD and Blend


countries.7 The questionnaire was sent out to and completed by national author-


ities responsible for public debt management, or if not feasible the questionnaire


was completed by the relevant country economist based on a dialog with the na-


tional governments. The information from the questionnaire was supplemented by


a search through websites of institutions responsible for central government’s debt


management. The questionnaire asked the following questions8


(i) Has the government established a debt management strategy for the


total central government debt portfolio?


(ii) Is the debt management strategy document published?


7The applied classi…cation into country groups is that of the World Bank and is available at
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/DATASTATISTICS/
0,,contentMDK:20421402~pagePK:64133150~piPK:64133175~theSitePK:239419,00.html


8The survey was made con…dential regarding the aswers of individual countries so that no country
examples appear in the paper.


5




(iii) Have you established a strategic target/benchmark for the total debt


portfolio?


The questions were answered in a Yes/No manner and converted to 1=0 entries


for each country, respectively. Regarding point (i), due to the formulation of the


question the positive answers may include implicit strategies. After acquiring all


observation the data were reviewed and some adjustments made to ensure their


consistency across countries.9 The latter pertains to ensuring that the unobserved


quality of debt management strategies which are not made public meets certain


criteria. Namely, the emphasis was placed on the fact that a debt management


strategy has to address the cost-risk trade-o¤, not only the cost of …scal …nancing.


This requirement thus excludes references to purely …scal expenditure frameworks or


frameworks addressing …scal sustainability. Concerning point (ii) the questionnaire


was supplemented by website search to obtain the strategy documents. In point (iii)


all countries that appeared to have at least one benchmark target or targeted range


for one of the three risks below quali…ed for a positive answer.


If countries have established a strategic target/benchmark for their public debt


portfolio they were asked which types of risks the strategic target/benchmark ad-


dresses. Namely, they were asked


(iii.a) Have you established a strategic target/benchmark for currency risk


(% domestic vs. % foreign)?


(iii.b) Have you established a strategic target/benchmark for interest rate


risk (% …xed vs. % ‡oating; average time to re…xing (months); or modi…ed


or Macaulay duration (years))?


(iii.c) Have you established a strategic target/benchmark for re…nancing


risk (ceiling on debt maturing within one year (% of total outstanding);


or average time to maturity (years))?


The Yes/No answers to the latter questions were also converted into 1=0 entries.


9I am grateful to Lars Jessen and Antonio Velandia for their help in this process and Phillip
Anderson, Elizabeth Currie and Tomas Magnusson for their expert inputs.


6




The entire data set covers 105 countries where the analysis of question (i) is based


on all 105 observations, and analyses of questions (ii) and (iii) on 66 observations


on strategies. To broadly characterize our sample, we …nd that out of the total


of 105 countries 66 countries have a public debt management strategy, of those 38


communicate their strategies in terms of guidelines, and 28 in terms of benchmarks.


Regarding the source of information that provided the basis for our classi…cation


40% of countries responded to the questionnaire either by themselves or via the


WB’s country o¢ ce. In case of 9% of the countries the information from needs


assessments conducted by the Banking and Debt Management Department was used


and updated by means of a website search. Finally, 51% of countries were classi…ed


based on information from the relevant websites, 46% of those are OECD countries


and the remainder are countries for which a response either to the questionnaire


sent out for the PDM forum, the questionnaire sent out directly to the relevant debt


management authorities, or to WB’s country o¢ ces10 was not recovered. If none of


the applied …ve information channels worked out the country was assigned a response


of "No" to question (i), which excluded it from the analysis of questions (ii) and (iii).


There are 21 non-OECD countries that were assigned a response of "No" in such a


manner.


What concerns the regression analysis presented in section 4, the data sample


employed is reduced due to unavailable data for some of the economic indicators used


to explain the variation in strategies’characteristics across countries. We discuss the


countries included in the regression analysis and the availability of data for estimation


in section 4.2.


3 Graphical Analysis


In this section we analyze how the probability of having a public debt management


strategy varies across di¤erent income groups and regions. We use the World Bank’s


income classi…cation to divide countries into groups of high income, upper-middle


10The WB’s country o¢ ces were asked to respond after a dialog with the relevant country’s
authorities or after a thorough assessment of the subject matter.


7




income, and lower-middle income.11 Similarly, we use WB’s regional classi…cation


to divide countries into regional groups of East Asia and Paci…c (EAP), Europe and


Central Asia (ECA), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Middle East and


North Africa (MNA), South Asia (SAR), and Sub-Saharan Africa (AFR).12 We will


discuss the division of countries into groups according to their levels of indebtedness


directly in section 3.3.


3.1 Comparison across Income Groups


Figure (1) shows the percentage of countries in our sample that have a public debt


management strategy when looking across di¤erent income groups. Further, panel B


of Figure (1) shows what percentage of strategies is made public, and what percentage


of strategies is expressed in terms of a strategic benchmark as opposed to strategic


guidelines when looking across di¤erent income groups.


Consider …rst panel A of Figure (1). As expected middle-income countries (MICs)


in general fall behind the high-income countries regarding the percentage of coun-


tries which have a debt management strategy. This would support the hypothesis


that more comprehensive management of public …nances comes with a higher stage


of economic development. However, it is interesting to observe that across the two


subgroups of MICs the pattern does not hold with the same signi…cance, i.e. that


countries in the lower MIC group show similar probability of having a debt manage-


ment strategy as countries in the higher MIC group. A tentative explanation might


be that while MICs pursue implementation of more stable (robust) macroeconomic


policies, a relatively higher improvement in this respect can be observed in the lower


MICs. Nevertheless, the pattern observed in Figure (1) can be to some extent an


artifact of the selected conventional income ranges to group the countries for the


purpose of constructing a histogram. We explore the relationship between income


levels (economic development) and the probability of a country having a strategy


using regression analysis later on in this paper.


11Recall that low income countries are not included in this analysis.
12Footnote 8 provides a link to WB’s website containing the list of countries in each income group


and region.


8




The percentage of strategies that are made public across income groups shown


in panel B of Figure (1) is positively linked to income levels of individual country


groups. This observation implies that at higher stages of development there is more


demand for transparency and accountability of public debt management, and also


higher capacity to meet such demand. The next characteristic of debt management


strategies plotted in panel B of Figure (1) is the percentage of strategies expressed


in terms of benchmarks as opposed to guidelines. Before examining the data one


can assume two alternative hypotheses. First, one would expect that expressing a


debt management strategy in terms of a benchmark requires higher capacity and


analytical rigor. This is due to the fact that setting numerical bounds for di¤erent


types of risks consistent with prudent debt management requires comprehensive risk


analysis. Also, MICs may wish to retain greater ‡exibility a¤orded by guidelines,


as they are more vulnerable to shocks and changing economic environment. This


is especially true in the case of developing economies that face various constraints.


Second, the MICs could opt for benchmarks more than high income countries since


the capacity to e¤ectively manage public debt is rather concentrated at more senior


levels so that the strategic benchmark appears to be a more e¢ cient way of guiding


the debt management sta¤ in its daily operations. In addition, the range of risks that


MICs face is broader than that of high income countries, and this relatively higher


complexity of risk management proves to be better handled via benchmarks for all


the risks the government wants to address. We can observe in the histogram that the


probability of country using a benchmark to express its strategy is positively related


to the levels of income, a …nding consistent with our …rst hypothesis.


3.2 Comparison across Regions


We now proceed to look at the distribution of the characteristics of interest across


di¤erent regions. Panel A of Figure (2) plots the percentage of strategies out of


the total number of observations in di¤erent regions. Panel B of Figure (2) shows


the percentage of strategies made public in each region, as well as the percentage of


strategies in each region expressed as a strategic benchmark.


9




We can observe in panel A that the probability of an OECD country having


a debt management strategy is signi…cantly higher than the probability of a non-


OECD country having a debt management strategy. This observation can again be


seen as a call for higher accountability, at least operational13, as a country reaches


higher stages of development. A strategy is linked to operational accountability


through a requirement to report and explain deviations of actions undertaken by debt


management from those consistent with the strategy. Even though, the percentage


of strategies in place reported for the high income countries does not reach 100%


the implicit reference point is in fact 100% as some OECD countries without a debt


management strategy show extremely low levels of indebtedness, so that having a


debt management strategy is not a priority itself. In addition, some OECD countries


may not have a traditional debt management strategy in face of extremely deep and


liquid …nancial markets and stable macroeconomic policies. Consider now the regions


in accord with WB’s classi…cation. We exclude SAR from our interpretations due


only to 1 available observation. Out of the considered regions, ECA appears to be the


leading region with the highest incidence of strategies, followed by MNA. As for the


remaining regions the percentage of countries having a debt management strategy


is below 50% and it is interesting to see that LAC and EAP are falling behind the


MICs of Africa.


Consider now panel B of Figure (2). It is interesting to observe that not all of


the strategies are made available to the public even in OECD countries, and that


certain debt managers prefer a lower degree of transparency in order to preserve more


room for their maneuvers.14 For some countries the non-transparency might have


di¤erent origins, though. Non-OECD countries again lag behind the OECD countries


in the percentage of public strategies. However, ECA not only leads the group of


WB’s regions regarding the percentage of public strategies, but is as a region more


13In a nutshell, operational accountability amounts to reporting and explaining actions with
respect to objectives, here those of debt management. See e.g. Buiter (2006) for more elaborate
description of operational versus substantive accountabilility.


14This preference could be especially justi…able if countries face higher uncertainty and operate
within a stringent accountability framework. Even public guidelines could thus be constraining in
fact.


10




transparent that the group of OECD countries. In this respect, EAP and AFR follow


after ECA while only MNA fails to cross the threshold of 50% of public strategies.


When we turn to the percentage of strategies expressed in terms of benchmarks


the OECD countries dominate in this respect the non-OECD countries, see also


section 3.1. From the WB’s regions, ECA, followed by LAC shows the highest


percentage of strategic benchmarks, a slightly lower one than the corresponding


percentage for OECD countries. One could be curious whether the higher incidence


of benchmarks in ECA and LAC could be attributed to a relatively higher analytical


capacity for risk management in ECA and LAC in comparison with AFR, EAP and


MNA.


3.3 Comparison across Levels of Indebtedness


The …rst row of panels in Figure (3) shows the distributions of the percentage of


strategies out of total observations across country groups with di¤erent levels of


indebtedness. The second row of panels in Figure (3) shows distributions of the per-


centage of public strategies and benchmarks out of strategies across country groups


with di¤erent levels of indebtedness. The distributions are constructed using two


di¤erent bases. In both cases countries were …rst ordered in ascending order in terms


of their levels of indebtedness. The …rst column of panels in Figure (3) uses the


ranges of indebtedness to classify countries into groups. The second column of pan-


els in Figure (3) divides the countries into groups of an equal size. The two slightly


di¤erent approaches will help us get a better picture about the distribution of the


characteristics of interest across levels of indebtedness.


Consider now the …rst row of Figure (3) which shows the distribution of the


percentage of countries with strategies. Starting from the left, we can observe that


the relationship between the probability of a country having a strategy and its level


of indebtedness is hump-shaped where countries with debt levels as a percentage of


GDP higher than 100% have the smallest probability of having a strategy, i.e. smaller


than countries with levels of indebtedness between 0100%. However, countries with
smallest levels of indebtedness between 0 50% have lower probability of having a


11




strategy than countries with a medium level of indebtedness ranging from 50 to 100


percent. The second plot in the …rst row of panels supports the …nding of a hump-


shaped relationship between indebtedness and an existence of a strategy. However,


the story coming from the tails of the distribution appears opposite to that from the


…rst plot. Namely, that countries with high levels of indebtedness have still higher


probability of having a strategy than countries with small levels of indebtedness.


The distribution of the percentage of public strategies across levels of indebtedness


is shown in the second row of panels in Figure (3). From the …rst plot it appears


that the relationship is rather non-linear and close to the U-shape. However, the


second plot contradicts this pattern and shows a strong linear relationship between


the percentage of public strategies and levels of indebtedness. This implies that


the higher the indebtedness of a country the more likely is the country to be non-


transparent about its debt management. We will investigate the latter relationship


further using regression analysis later on in this paper to get more de…nite answers.


Finally, the second row of panels in Figure (3) also shows the distribution of


benchmark strategies across levels of indebtedness. The left-hand side histogram


suggests a hump-shaped relationship between benchmark strategies and the levels of


indebtedness. The hump-shaped relationship implies that as countries are becoming


more indebted they use benchmarks more often to express their strategies. However,


as countries become highly indebted the use of benchmarks in debt management


decreases. Although a non-linearity is also suggested by the plot on the right it


follows a U-shape as opposed to a hump-shape thus completely contradicting the


implications from the …rst plot. Again, we hope to …nd more conclusive insights into


this relationship using regression analysis carried out in section 4.


3.4 Further Inspection of Strategic Benchmarks


In this section we further decompose the strategic benchmarks into three basic types


of risk that the benchmarks can be addressing. These are namely foreign exchange


(FX) risk, interest rate risk and re…nancing risk. Using graphical analysis, we exam-


ine the relative weight of the three types of risk in the existing benchmarks across


12




di¤erent income groups, regions, and levels of indebtedness. Figure (4) plots the


frequency (in percentages) with which a given type of risk is addressed in the bench-


marks. Panel A of Figure (4) does so while considering di¤erent income groups,


panel B di¤erent regions, and panels C and D varying levels of indebtedness. In


all panels we show an average proportion of all the three di¤erent risks addressed


in strategic benchmarks, denoted by "average". The latter is computed as the un-


weighted average of incidence with which each of the three risks is addressed in


strategic benchmarks.


It appears that the average number of di¤erent risks the benchmarks in MICs


address is higher than the average number for high income countries. This is mainly


attributable to the fact that high-income countries are not concerned much with


FX risk and re…nancing risk as they have access to large and liquid debt markets


usually in local currencies. It is interesting to observe that the average number


of risks addressed in benchmarks by lower MICs is signi…cantly higher than the


average number of risks addressed by upper MICs. This may be again due to the


fact that lower MICs are more concerned about FX and re…nancing risk than upper


MICs. This seems to imply that the consideration of re…nancing risks in strategic


benchmarks is negatively correlated with countries’income levels. This could apply


to FX risk as well, however here, the relationship is possibly non-linear as upper


MICs show slightly lower percentage of FX risk targets (targeted ranges) in their


benchmarks than high income countries. On the other hand, interest rate risk shows


rather the opposite tendency, i.e. its presence in strategic benchmarks appears to be


more positively correlated with countries’income levels. For high-income countries


the interest rate risk is probably the only concern given their …nancing opportunities,


and from the point of view of MICs it is the risk that is supposedly the easiest one


to manage.


Panel B looks at the distribution of the three risks addressed in strategic bench-


marks using cross-region comparison. The average number of di¤erent risks addressed


in benchmarks of non-OECD countries seems to be signi…cantly larger than in the


case of OECD countries. Again, the evidence shows that this is primarily due to the


higher concern of the non-OECD countries about FX and re…nancing risks. Neverthe-


13




less, the proportion of OECD countries concerned about interest rate risk dominates


that of non-OECD countries. It is hard to draw any conclusions for some of the


WB’s regions, as AFR, MNA or even EAP, since there is only one observation avail-


able in each case. Our interpretations thus shrink to comparison of ECA and LAC.


LAC seems to be leading in the average number of risks addressed in benchmarks.


Moreover, once a country in the LAC region employs a strategic benchmark for debt


management this benchmark is very likely to include targets (targeted ranges) for


all re…nancing, interest rate and FX risks. ECA seems to be most concerned about


interest rate risk and the risk pro…le of this region thus more resembles that of the


OECD countries.


Panels C and D of Figure (4) show the distribution of benchmarks addressing the


three basic types of risk across levels of indebtedness. Panel C uses as the base ranges


of indebtedness whereas panel D puts the countries, in ascending order according to


their levels of indebtedness, into equally populated groups. We can observe that


the average number of di¤erent risk addressed in the strategic benchmarks is rather


negatively related to the levels of indebtedness, although panel C shows possible


presence of non-linearity. Namely, the countries with levels of indebtedness between


50 100% of GDP appear to use a larger number of di¤erent benchmarks than low
and highly indebted countries. The incidence of re…nancing risk being addressed in


strategic benchmarks is strongly declining with levels of indebtedness. On the other


hand, the incidence of interest rate risk being addressed in the benchmarks appears


to be ambiguously related to levels of indebtedness as the story from panels C and D


is very di¤erent. The relationship between levels of indebtedness and the incidence of


exchange rate risk in strategic benchmarks appears to be possibly non-linear based


on the evidence across panels C and D. This is since the countries with levels of


indebtedness between 50 100% of GDP appear to use targets (targeted ranges) for
exchange rate risk most often and the countries in the range of 100%+ the least.


14




4 Regression Analysis


In this section we investigate to what extent the existence of a public debt man-


agement strategy in a country can be explained by economic indicators. We will


attribute the unexplained part of the event, i.e. a country having a strategy, to


political, institutional and idiosyncratic (country speci…c) factors. The economic in-


dicators employed are of a general character and pertain to, for instance, the stage


of economic development, macroeconomic management, indebtedness of a country,


‡exibility of the applied exchange rate regime, and are described in detail in section


4.1.


Ideally we would be interested in explaining the variation of the quality of debt


management strategies, yi ; across countries, i.e.


yi = Xi + i (1)


using economic indicators Xi: However we do not observe yi instead we observe


yi which takes values of 0 or 1 according to the following rule


yi = f 1 if y

i > y




0 otherwise
(2)


where the threshold yis set so that the strategy has to at least consider the


cost-risk trade-o¤when meeting government …nancing needs. It is also assumed that


i N (0; 2) : We thus have a vector of yi with 0 and 1 entries corresponding to
a country having or not having a public debt management strategy, and an index


i = 1:::81 denoting the countries in our sample. It can be shown, see e.g. Johnston


and Dinardo (2001), that the latent regression in (1) and the rule in (2) generate a


PROBIT model.


We are interested in modelling the probability that yi takes the value of 1 condi-


tional on selected economic indicators Xi, and thus transforming Xi into a proba-


bility, i.e.


prob (yi = 1) = F (Xi) (3)


15




where is a vector of parameters and F () is assumed to be a cumulative standard
Normal distribution. There are two most common alternatives to consider when


choosing the functional form of F . These correspond to models of linear probability,


and LOGIT. Since it appears that in vast majority of empirical cases the three models


seem to produce similar answers (see Johnston and Dinardo, 2001, chapter 13), we


choose to focus on the PROBIT model out of convenience15. This is due to the fact


that unlike the linear probability model the PROBIT model restricts the …tted values


to lie between 0 and 1, and we …nd its functional form more intuitive for our case


than that of LOGIT.


4.1 Selected Economic Indicators


We now discuss the economic indicators employed as explanatory variables Xi in


the PROBIT model in (3). The selection of those indicators was based on data


availability to maximize the coverage of the survey data, and an agnostic approach


to collecting basic economic indicators related to public debt management. The se-


lected economic indicators include measures of economic development, the level of


indebtedness and regional location in order to extend the graphical analysis of sec-


tion 3. In addition, we focus on some characteristics of government borrowing such


as the proportion of concessional debt, growth of government revenues approximated


by GDP growth, ‡exibility of applied exchange rate regimes, and volatility of do-


mestic and external shocks that may a¤ect cash‡ows related to the debt portfolio or


government primary balance. The volatility of shocks is mainly considered due to


the aim of debt management to minimize the shocks’impact on government budget


by optimizing the composition of the government debt portfolio. We now discuss the


employed economic indicators in detail.


GDP per capita - this variable is used to approximate the stage of development


of a country. One may expect that the higher the stage of development the higher


the probability that a country has a debt management strategy. A higher stage of


15We still compare the estimation results from the PROBIT model to those from the LOGIT and
LP models to check for possible misspeci…cation problems.


16




development is thus assumed to be associated with a better institutional framework


including a debt management strategy and its public availability. We used also a


quadratic of this variable in the model to capture possible non-linearities, however,


it appeared to be insigni…cant and is not reported in the estimation results. The


measure of GDP per capita is the PPP converted gross domestic product from the


Penn World Tables (Heston et al, 2006).


Indebtedness of government - increases in this variable, de…ned as the ratio of


total government debt to GDP, should result in an e¤ort to consolidate government


…nances and adopt a debt management strategy. One can also expect that if this


indicator reaches high levels the government may give up on debt management and


focus on debt renegotiations. Although debt renegotiations could be seen as a part of


the debt management strategy we do not include them in our indicator yi: Therefore,


inclusion of a quadratic of government indebtedness into our PROBIT model can be


justi…ed. As in the case of the GDP per capita the quadratic term appeared to be


insigni…cant and is not reported in the presented estimation results. The total debt-


to-GDP ratio was obtained from the GDF & WDI Central database of the World


Bank and the EIU database.


Government share of GDP - this variable is used to approximate the importance


of public sector (government) in economic performance of a country. One may expect


that a larger share of government on real GDP would result in a greater e¤ort to


stabilize government …nances in the sake of greater macroeconomic stability. Sim-


ilarly, if government actions are important for an economy the public will require


higher transparency and accountability from the government. Existence of a public


debt management strategy is thus deemed to represent increased e¤orts of the gov-


ernment to stabilize its …nances and meet the requirement of the public for higher


transparency and accountability. The measure used here is the government’s share


on real GDP from the Penn World Tables (Heston et al, 2006).


Degree of government debt concessionality - this variables is used to capture the


percentage of government debt …nanced by means of concessional resources, e.g. from


multilateral and bilateral donors. We assume that the higher the concessional share


of government debt the lower the incentive for the government to adopt a strategy


17




addressing cost-risk trade-o¤s in …nancing decisions, most importantly decisions on


debt composition. This indicator may appear to be perfectly correlated with GDP


per capita, in fact the correlation is estimated to be 0:55. Although the correla-
tion can be regarded as high an exclusion of the degree of concessionality from the


regression for strategies was rejected. We use the ratio of concessional debt to total


external debt to approximate this indicator. This measure was obtained from the


GDF & WDI Central database of the World Bank.


Internal macroeconomic management - the standard deviations of CPI in‡ation


and GDP growth are used to capture quality of internal macroeconomic management.


Since price stability is the basic objective and goal of monetary policy we …nd the


standard deviation of in‡ation indicative of the quality of internal macroeconomic


management. Also, the monetary and …scal policies aim at smoothing ‡uctuations


in economic performance, the economic growth cycle. We again draw the link from


sound and successful macroeconomic policy of a government to its likely engagement


in sound practice regarding public debt management. However, also in this case the


argument can be posed di¤erently. Namely, that the success of a sound macroeco-


nomic policy will depend on the institutional set up of the economy, such as e.g.


wage negotiation mechanisms or capital adequacy requirements for …rms, that deter-


mines the pass-through and size of domestic shocks. Although, the government can


in‡uence the institutional set up in the long run, facing larger domestic shocks can


lead to adoption of more advanced instruments for public debt management. The


CPI in‡ation and GDP growth series were obtained from the GDF & WDI Central


database of the World Bank.


Flexibility of exchange rate regimes - we use the standard deviation of the change


in the exchange rate to approximate this indicator. The lower the standard deviation


the lower the ‡exibility of an exchange rate regime. However, varying volatility of


exchange rates across countries is also attributable to varying impacts or sizes of


external shocks. This would be certainly the case if one dealt only with ‡oating


exchange rate regimes. In order to condition on the external shocks we employ other


variables such as volatility of current account or the terms of trade, see below. The


standard deviation of exchange rate is computed using the exchange rate series from


18




the Penn World Tables (Heston et al, 2006).


External macroeconomic management - we use the standard deviation of the cur-


rent account-to-GDP ratio (CA/GDP) to approximate this indicator. It may appear


that the actual exchange rate deviates from the equilibrium exchange rate that brings


the economy to external balance. This is especially true in the case of less ‡exible


exchange rate regimes present in our sample. If the external macroeconomic man-


agement (policies) are poor, i.e. there are frequent or large deviations of the actual


exchange rate from its equilibrium, this will result in higher variability of external


balances, measured here by CA/GDP. We use the quality of external macroeconomic


policies as one of the indicators of the overall quality of general government policies


and draw a link to the quality of public debt management - existence of a debt man-


agement strategy. To set an alternative hypothesis, one may argue that whatever


the external policy its success, as measured by the standard deviation of CA/GDP


here, depends on the magnitude and frequency of external shocks such as those to


the terms of trade and capital ‡ows. Further, one may extend this argument and


assume that the higher the importance (impact) of external shocks the more likely is


a country to adopt better instruments for public debt management, such as a debt


management strategy. The series of CA/GDP was retrieved from the GDF & WDI


Central database of the World Bank.


Management of foreign reserves - we measure the quality of management of for-


eign reserves using the coe¢ cient of variation in the stock of FX reserves-to-imports


ratio. Since management of foreign reserves is part of the …nancial management of


the consolidated government balance sheet we assume that its quality can be posi-


tively linked to the quality of public debt management. This is especially true if there


exist a high degree of coordination between monetary policy and debt management.


The series of FX reserves as a percentage of imports was taken from the GDF &


WDI Central database of the World Bank.


Volatility of o¢ cial transfers - more speci…cally we use the coe¢ cient of variation


for net o¢ cial current transfers. This indicator is employed to approximate the


exogenous volatility (risk) in foreign aid that developing countries may face. This


volatility may force countries to take some precautionary actions which may include


19




creation of a bu¤er stock of …nances to smooth out the volatility. Increases in the


required o¤setting …nancing could make the country acknowledge the need for a debt


management strategy. On the other hand, if the volatility in foreign aid is disrupting


the …nancing plans of the government at some point it could undermine the e¢ cient


continuation of a debt management strategy. The series of net o¢ cial transfers was


taken from the GDF & WDI Central database of the World Bank.


Regional dummy variables - we include also regional dummies into the regression


to explore the possibility that the existence of a strategy is dependent on the region


a country belongs to. The regional classi…cation corresponds to that used through-


out the graphical analysis in section 2.16 When constructing the regional dummy


variables we take as a base the LAC region due to the highest number of available


observations.


All indicators were calculated using available annual data covering the period


from 1990 to 2006.


4.2 Estimation Results


This section reports and discusses the results of PROBIT model estimation. Recall


that by using the PROBIT model we try to explain the probability of a country hav-


ing a public debt management strategy using selected economic indicators discussed


in section 4.1. The maximization of the log-likelihood of the PROBIT model17 is


carried out using the Berndt-Hall-Hall-Hausman algorithm. The inference is based


on the quasi-maximum likelihood (QML) standard errors due to Huber and White18


16We have tried to insert a regional dummy taking 1 if the country was an OECD country and
0 otherwise, but this dummy appeared to be insigni…cant and was dropped from the estimation.
This is most likely due to its colinearity of 0:87 with the income levels of the countries.


17The log-likelihood function is of the form:


l








= ln (L) =


X
i



yi ln






Xi







+ (1 yi) ln






Xi







where is standard Normal cumulative distribution and is the standard deviation of the unob-
served shock in the regression underlying the PROBIT model, see e.g. Johnston and Dinardo for
further details.


18The QML variance covariance matrix is computed as


20




which are robust to general misspeci…cation of the conditional distribution of yi. As a


check for possible misspeci…cation problems we estimate the LOGIT and LP models


for yi using the same set of explanatory variables. The sample used for estimation


includes 81 countries, shown in Table (3) for which data on the employed economic


indicators were available. 29 of the countries included in the regression are OECD


countries, 7 of them from AFR, 6 from EAP, 19 from ECA, 19 from LAC, and 8


from MNA.19 The results are reported in Table (1).


The estimation results are broadly consistent across the PROBIT, LOGIT and


LP models so that there seems to be no obvious signs of misspeci…cation prob-


lems. PROBIT and LOGIT show signi…cantly better …t than the LP model and


the estimated coe¢ cients from those models are generally more signi…cant than the


estimated coe¢ cients from the LP model.20 The selected economic indicators can


explain about 40% of the incidence when a country has a strategy, and appear to be


jointly highly signi…cant. We attribute the unexplained part to political, institutional


and country-speci…c factors. We now discuss the e¤ects of individual variables.


We …nd signi…cant evidence that as the GDP per capita in the country grows,


there is a higher probability that the government will have a public debt manage-


ment strategy. Also, the level of indebtedness shows signi…cantly positive relation-


ship with the probability of an existing strategy. This implies that as countries get


more indebted they put more weight on e¤ective debt management where a strategy


document is the basic building block.


The coe¢ cient attached to the share of government on GDP is negative but


statistically indi¤erent from zero. So that increasing importance of government in


economic performance of a country does not seem to increase the probability of a


varQML


b = bH1bgbg0 bH1
where bH and bg are the gradients (scores) and Hessian of the log likelihood evaluated at the ML


estimates.
19None of the countries from SAR happend to be included in the regression.
20Note that the coe¢ cients from the PROBIT and LOGIT model cannot be interpreted as mar-


ginal e¤ects of an explanatory variable on the dependent variable as in the case of the LP model.
In the case of PROBIT and LOGIT the marginal e¤ect varies with the level of the explanatory
variable.


21




present debt management strategy.


The increasing degree of governments debt concessionality appears to signi…cantly


decrease the probability of a country having a debt management strategy. Therefore


reliance of a country on multilateral and bilateral donors may act as an disincentive


for adopting sound public debt management practice.


On the other hand, higher ‡exibility of an exchange rate regime seems to increase


the probability of a country adopting a debt management strategy. This is due to the


fact that under an exchange rate ‡oat the country has to deal with FX risk explicitly


and cannot rely on the central bank to defend the …xed exchange rate parity as its


intermediate policy target. In fact, with increasing ‡exibility of an exchange rate


regime the opportunity for government to contract out some part of the FX risk to


the central bank decreases.


The signi…cantly negative coe¢ cient attached to the standard deviation of CA/GDP


o¤ers the interpretation that the higher the external macroeconomic vulnerability the


lower the probability of sound public debt management policy. In other words, as


the volatility of external balances increases the probability of a country having a


debt management strategy decreases.


The e¤ectiveness of FX reserves management seems to increase the probability of


a country having a debt strategy. Successful management of FX reserves can thus be


seen as a positive externality for public debt management, especially if coordinated


with the public debt management. Increasing variations in o¢ cial transfers, yet


another type of an external shock that developing countries can face, appear to have


a signi…cant negative e¤ect on the probability of a country having a debt management


strategy.


Finally, it is interesting to observe that if a country is located in the ECA region


its probability of having a debt management strategy increases signi…cantly. This is


not true of the other regions considered.


22




4.3 Extension to Public and Benchmark Strategies


In this section we extend the regression analysis to the binary variables distinguishing


between public debt management strategies made available to the public and those


not available to the public, and further between strategies formulated in terms of


benchmarks and those in terms of guidelines. We thus try to explain two additional


binary variables yPi and y
B
i de…ned as


yPi = f
1 if strategy made public


0 if strategy not public
yBi = f


1 if strategic benchmark


0 if guidelines
(4)


Again we opt for the PROBIT model21 when investigating to what extend can


yPi and y
B
i be explained by selected economic indicators Xi. Since the number of


observations in our sample available for estimation changes noticeably due to a dif-


fering number of observations available for each explanatory variable we resort to


the speci…c-to-general approach to build up the …nal models estimated for yPi and


yBi . We start with GDP per capita and add on other relevant variables according to


their signi…cance while maximizing the coverage of the survey data. We …rst discuss


some additional variables that appear in the PROBIT model for yPi and y
B
i , and


which were not signi…cant when used to explain existence of a strategy, i.e. yi.


GDP growth - when economy performs well and is experiencing higher growth


rates of GDP the government may be more willing to become transparent about


its actions and decisions. This argument implies that with higher GDP growth


government’s capacity in meeting public’s demand for higher transparency in public


debt management grows as well. The series of GDP growth was obtained from the


Penn World Tables (Heston et al, 2006).


Terms of trade volatility - this variable captures the intensity of real external


shocks that hit the economy. Higher risk of real external shocks, as measured by the


standard deviation, creates a genuine dilemma for country authorities of whether to


21We have carried out the estimation using LOGIT and LP models as well to check on any
mispeci…cation problems. We did not detect any. The estimation results are available from the
author.


23




engage in relatively more accountable frameworks. This is due to the fact that more


intense real external shocks make even operational accountability more burdensome,


and therefore does not necessarily imply a reluctance of country authorities to be


accountable. Following this argument one can expect that higher terms of trade


volatility can result in inclination towards debt management guidelines rather than


strategic benchmarks for debt management. The series was acquired from the GDF


& WDI Central database of the World Bank.


The estimation results for the PROBIT models of yPi and y
B
i are reported in


Table (2). The respective log-likelihoods were again maximized using the BHHH


algorithm and the inference is based on Huber-White QML standard errors.


The estimation results in Table (2) indicate that the probability of a strategy


being available to the public can be from about 21 percent explained by selected


economic indicators. Similarly, the probability of a strategy being expressed in terms


of a strategic benchmark, rather than strategic guidelines, can be from about 47


percent explained by selected economic indicators, a percentage signi…cantly higher


than in the case of public strategies. The unexplained part of the probability that


yPi = 1 or y
B
i = 1 is attributed to institutional, political and idiosyncratic factors.


We now proceed to a more detailed discussion of our results.


Consider …rst the estimation results for yPi in the …rst column of Table (2). We


…nd that the level of GDP per capita, the level of indebtedness and the average


growth rate do not seem to be important in explaining a country’s decision to make


its debt management strategy public. Further, variations in economic growth seem to


negatively impact on the probability of a strategy being made public, however, this


impact is not signi…cant at common levels. On the other hand, increasing volatility of


domestic prices, as measured by CPI, signi…cantly a¤ects the probability of a strat-


egy being public. This result could be related to the e¤ect of volatility of in‡ation


on the uncertainty pertaining to government revenues. The government in defence


of its strategy and for the sake of accountability prefers to make its debt manage-


ment strategy available to the public so that the e¤ect of an unexpected shortfall


in government revenues and the e¤ect of volatile prices on …nancing premiums are


24




apparent. Furthermore, increasing standard deviation of the exchange rate seems to


be positively in‡uencing the decision to make a debt management strategy public.


More ‡exible exchange rate regimes are often associated with more advanced macro-


economic policy, such as e.g. in‡ation targeting, the peer pressure within government


institutions can result in more transparent public debt management. Volatility of


the terms of trade seems to have a signi…cant negative e¤ect on the probability of


a strategy being public. If a government is relatively more dependent on tax rev-


enues from tradeable goods and/or its revenues are directly linked to the country’s


exports, such as commodities, larger shocks to government revenues could make gov-


ernment reluctant to publish its strategy and later be forced to publicly modify it.


Variations in CA/GDP seem to be positively related to the probability of making


strategy public, though not at common signi…cance levels. When looking over the


regional dummies we …nd that if a country belongs to the ECA region it has signi…-


cantly higher probability of having made its strategy public. This is not true of the


remaining regions.


Consider now the estimation results for yBi in the second column of Table (2).


The e¤ect of GDP per capita on the probability that yBi = 1, i.e. a strategy is


expressed as a strategic benchmark rather than guidelines for debt management,


appears to be negative. This would imply that developed countries do not favour


strategic benchmarks. This may be due to the fact that they face only a certain type


of risk, most commonly interest rate risk, and even operational sta¤ shows relatively


high capacity for managing this risk, so that the relatively strict and more explicit


guidance of a strategic benchmark is not necessary. The level of indebtedness appears


to be positively related to having a strategic benchmark, however, this e¤ect is not


statistically signi…cant at common levels. The results suggest a negative e¤ect of


average GDP growth on the probability of a benchmark-type strategy. Tentatively


and in relation to developing countries, higher average GDP growth over the period


1990-2006 may indicate less disruptions of macroeconomic performance due to crises


episodes and thus the need of addressing basic risks explicitly is not seen as so


bene…cial. On the other hand, developed countries experience relatively lower average


growth rates compared to developing countries which might not have the necessary


25




analytical capacity to derive benchmark targets. Increasing variation in in‡ation does


not seem to a¤ect the probability of using strategic benchmarks. Higher ‡exibility


of applied exchange rate regimes seems to imply lower probability of a benchmark


debt strategy. This result is somewhat puzzling unless one wants to acknowledge the


in‡uence of more developed economies on this …nding, as most of these apply some


type of a ‡oating exchange rate regime and often use guidelines for debt management.


Also, the terms of trade volatility impact negatively on the probability of using a


strategic benchmark. If developing countries are often hit by large external shocks


it may be hard for them to set a conventional benchmark with rather well-de…ned


ranges for selected types of risks. Volatility of CA/GDP appears to be insigni…cant in


explaining the use of strategic benchmarks. Further, governments appear to be less


in favor of using strategic benchmarks for debt management once facing increasing


variation in o¢ cial transfers (foreign aid). Increasing variation in o¢ cial transfers


can be seen as a speci…c kind of an external shock that again results in the lower use


of benchmark targets (ranges) for management of the basic types of risk. Finally,


when looking across the coe¢ cient estimates attached to regional dummies we …nd


that if a country belongs to the MNA region it has signi…cantly lower probability of


using a benchmark strategy.


5 Conclusion


This paper analyzed survey data on public debt management strategies across income


groups, regions and levels of indebtedness using graphical tools. Further, regression


analysis was carried out to extend the graphical analysis and condition on more


economic indicators possibly relevant for public debt management. More speci…cally,


the graphical and regression analyses were focused on explaining how the incidence of


(i) public debt management strategies, (ii) the published strategies and (iii) strategic


benchmarks varies across income groups, regions, levels of indebtedness and other


economic characteristics.


We found that a higher level of income in a country appears to increase its prob-


ability of having a debt management strategy. The level of indebtedness seems to


26




be also positively correlated with the incidence of a strategy where the graphical


analysis indicated that the relationship could be non-linear. The latter would im-


ply that as a country becomes more indebted it aims at increasing the quality of


debt management, however, after reaching high levels of indebtedness it gives up on


debt management and possibly engages in debt renegotiations and focuses on debt


sustainability issues. Across the World Bank’s regions, Europe and Central Asia ap-


pears to stand out in regards to the incidence of strategies. Concerning other factors,


the degree of debt concessionality appears to signi…cantly decrease the probability


of having a strategy, and so does the volatility of external shocks.


In regards to making strategies public, it appears from the graphical analysis


that their incidence is slightly positively related to the income levels, however, the


regression analysis …nds this e¤ect insigni…cant. The public strategies seem to be also


unrelated to the level of indebtedness. From the regional perspective, it is Europe


and Central Asia, followed by East Asia and Paci…c, and Sub-Saharan Africa, that


leads in terms of transparency (incidence of public strategies) and outperforms in this


respect even OECD countries as a group. Concerning other factors, the volatility


of domestic and external shocks seems to signi…cantly a¤ect the probability of a


present public strategy. In general, the degree to which we can explain the incidence


of public strategies is rather low compared to the incidence of strategies and strategic


benchmarks.


Incidence of strategic benchmarks seems to be slightly positively correlated with


income levels, however, when conditioning on other economic indicators we found a


signi…cant negative e¤ect of GDP per capita on a strategy being expressed in terms


of a benchmark. The relationship between benchmark strategies and levels of in-


debtedness appears slightly positive but not signi…cant at common levels. Europe


and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean appear to have the high-


est incidence of benchmarks among the World Bank’s regions. When conditioning


on other economic factors we …nd that countries from the Middle East and North


Africa have signi…cantly lower probability of using benchmark strategies compared


to other regions. Further economic factors which signi…cantly a¤ect the incidence of


a benchmark strategy include average GDP growth and volatility of external shocks,


27




with a negative e¤ect on benchmarks incidence, and volatility of domestic shocks,


with a positive e¤ect on benchmarks incidence.


As mentioned in the introduction, we see this paper as a …rst attempt to charac-


terize the variations in the survey data on public debt management strategies across


countries where establishing a regularly repeated survey would be incredibly bene…-


cial. The follow-up surveys on public debt management strategies could extend the


coverage to all low income countries, and focus on distinguishing between implicit


and formal strategies by structuring the applied questionnaire accordingly. Although


the present work is intended to provide the opportunity for public debt managers


to compare themselves to their peers or countries at a similar stage of development,


some policy implications could be derived from a similar analysis in the future. In


this respect inclusion of some institutional variables would be desirable. Examples


could include the number of institutions responsible for public debt management in


a given country, the degree of central bank independence, existence of a medium-


term expenditure framework, or the degree of transparency of measures concerning


domestic macroeconomic policies.


28




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30




Table 1: Estimation Results - PROBIT Model for Existing Strategies
PROBIT LOGIT LP


Variable Coe¢ cient p-value Coe¢ cient p-value Coe¢ cient p-value
GDPpci 6:7E-5 0:0403 0:0001 0:0342 1:6E-6 0:8470
Indebti 0:0139 0:0421 0:0232 0:0536 0:0019 0:1902
GovSharei 0:0269 0:2931 0:0414 0:3557 0:0065 0:3558
(ConsDebt/TotDebt)i 0:0216 0:0962 0:0329 0:1485 0:0085 0:0480
stdev (inf)i 0:0004 0:4686 0:0007 0:5427 9:7E-5 0:6654
stdev (growth)i 0:0649 0:2863 0:1134 0:2721 0:0182 0:3182
stdev (ER)i 2:2E-6 0:1137 4:4E-6 0:1261 2:5E-7 0:3143
stdev (CA/GDP)i 0:1694 0:0241 0:3008 0:0264 0:0222 0:0672
stdev (FXRes/IM)i 3:8911 0:0262 7:0172 0:0451 0:5549 0:0467
coefvar(O¢ cTrans)i 0:2400 0:0003 0:4093 0:0007 0:0133 0:2825
constant 0:0231 0:9789 0:3039 0:8330 0:7743 0:0035
dummy-AFRi 0:2648 0:6601 0:5079 0:6290 0:0239 0:8837
dummy-EAPi 0:3947 0:5806 0:7235 0:5543 0:0336 0:8885
dummy-ECAi 1:2259 0:0704 2:0451 0:0965 0:2284 0:1330
dummy-MNAi 0:4327 0:5740 0:7880 0:5771 0:1288 0:5920
McFaddens R-squared 0:4039 0:3973 0:3583
No. of Countries 81 81 81


Dependent Variable = 1 57 Dependent Variable = 0 24


31




Table 2: Estimation Results - PROBIT for public strategies and benchmarks
Dep.Var. yPi Dep.Var. y


B
i


Explanatory Variable Coe¢ cient p-value Coe¢ cient p-value
GDPpci 1:4E-5 0:6618 0:0001 0:0228
Indebti 0:0010 0:8748 0:0132 0:1462
Growthi 0:1566 0:3299 0:5149 0:0107
stdev (Growth)i 0:1402 0:1568 0:4840 0:0140
stdev (inf)i 0:0014 0:0165 2:7E-5 0:9627
stdev (ER)i 1:9E-6 0:0435 0:0015 0:0032
stdev (tot)i 0:1339 0:0060 0:2324 0:0047
stdev (CA/GDP)i 0:1525 0:2200 0:0789 0:6736
coefvar(O¢ cTrans)i na na 0:7288 0:0015
constant 0:4155 0:6421 2:6197 0:0471
dummy-AFRi 1:3422 0:1840 0:7743 0:4391
dummy-EAPi 0:7398 0:3510 1:6985 0:1584
dummy-ECAi 1:5153 0:0228 0:7142 0:4200
dummy-MNAi 0:4929 0:4975 4:3164 0:0024
McFaddens R-squared 0:2055 0:4679
No. of Countries 60 58
Dependent Variable = 1 42 28
Dependent Variable = 0 18 30


32




Table 3: A list of countries included in regression analysis
ALBANIA CANADA FINLAND JORDAN NORWAY SWAZILAND


ALGERIA CHILE FRANCE KAZAKHSTAN PANAMA SWEDEN


ARGENTINA CHINA GABON KOREA PARAGUAY SYRIAN ARAB REP.


AUSTRALIA COLOMBIA GERMANY LATVIA PERU THAILAND


AUSTRIA COSTA RICA GREECE LEBANON PHILIPPINES TRINID . & TOBAGO


AZERBAIJAN CROATIA GUATEMALA LITHUANIA POLAND TUNISIA


BELARUS CZECH REP. HUNGARY LUXEMBOURG PORTUGAL TURKEY


BELGIUM DENMARK ICELAND MACEDONIA ROMANIA UKRAINE


BELIZE DOMINICAN REP. INDONESIA MALAYSIA SEYCHELLES UNITED KINGDOM


BOLIVIA ECUADOR IRELAND MAURITIUS SLOVAK REP. UNITED STATES


BOSNIA & HERZ. EGYPT ISRAEL MEXICO SLOVENIA VENEZUELA


BOTSWANA EL SALVADOR ITALY MOROCCO SOUTH AFRICA


BRAZIL EQUAT. GUINEA JAMAICA NETHERLANDS SPAIN


BULGARIA ESTONIA JAPAN NEW ZEALAND ST . VIN . & GREN.


Figure 1: Distribution of the Percentage of Countries with Strategies, and the Per-
centage of Public Strategies and Strategic Benchmarks out of Strategies Across In-
come Groups


33




Figure 2: Distribution of the Percentage of Countries with Strategies, and the Per-
centage of Public Strategies and Strategic Benchmarks out of Strategies Across Re-
gions


34




Figure 3: Distribution of the Percentage of Countries with Strategies, and the Per-
centage of Public Strategies and Strategic Benchmarks out of Strategies Across Levels
of Indebtedness


35




Figure 4: Distributions of the Basic Types of Risk Addressed in Benchmarks Across
Income Groups, Regions and Levels of Indebtedness


36




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