Don't Talk to Me about Debt. Talk to Me about Growth

Sep 2013
In this policy brief, we focus on the debates surrounding what has been called the "silent debt crisis" of the Caribbean. We discuss the level of debt at which the relation with economic growth turns from positive to negative. We also discuss, illustrated with simulations of the tradeoffs, how to reduce the debt level with policy options that complement fiscal austerity with debt restructuring, economic growth promotion, acceleration of inflation, and financial repression. Each policy option carries an advantage in terms of easing the required fiscal adjustment; however, each also presents downsides that could undermine such a benefit. There appears to be no gain without upfront pain.