Public Debt

Investment Policy Brief 10, February 2018

How international investment agreements have made debt restructuring even more difficult and costly

International investment and trade agreements are legally binding international treaties which give investors an additional layer of legal protection on top of the host country law and contract law.  However, little efforts have been made in ironing out the interface between these different laws and treaties. Inconsistencies and even contradictions have emerged in dispute settlement decisions, sometimes at the expense of public good, sovereignty and financial and economic stability. An asymmetry seems to exist in the allocation of risks and benefits between investors and recipients of investments. (more…)

Research Paper 83, November 2017

China’s Debt Problem and Rising Systemic Risks: Impact of the global financial crisis and structural problems

The fast expansion of China’s debt, in particular corporate and local government debt, has attracted international attention and has also become a major concern of China’s policy makers. Even though China can tolerate a higher debt level than many other emerging and developing economies owing to the sheer size and other special features of the Chinese economy, systemic risks for financial stability have been rising since the global financial crisis and the cushions built in the past decades to withstand a higher debt level have also been weakened. (more…)

Research Paper 76, May 2017

The Financial Crisis and the Global South: Impact and Prospects

The world economy has not still recovered from the effects of the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago first in the US and then in Europe.  Policy response to the crisis, the combination of fiscal restraint and ultra-easy monetary policy, has not only failed to bring about a robust recovery but has also aggravated systemic problems in the global economy, notably inequality and chronic demand gap, on the one hand, and financial fragility, on the other. (more…)

Research Paper 73, February 2017

Inequality, Financialization and Stagnation

The failure of exceptional monetary measures pursued in response to the financial crisis in advanced economies to achieve a strong recovery has created a widespread concern that these economies suffer from a chronic demand gap and face the prospect of stagnation.  This paper reviews and discusses the alternative views on the causes of the slowdown in accumulation and growth and the policies implemented and proposed to deal with it. (more…)

Policy Brief 35, January 2017

On the Existence of Systemic Issues and their Policy Implications

Systemic issues are issues that arise from the built-in features of the global system and the impact of the interaction of its parts; as implied in the chapter title in the Monterrey Consensus, it pertains to the coherence and consistency of the monetary, finance and trade systems.  Systemic issues point at the weak points in the whole global financial “architecture,” the international structures and mechanisms that are beyond the control of individual countries.  Systemic issues are a particular concern to developing countries, which have experienced their greatest development reversals during international payments crises. (more…)

Presentation, October 2016

South Centre Presentation to the Special Event of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly

UNCTAD organized a special event of the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 26 October 2016 in New York on “SOVEREIGN DEBT RESTRUCTURINGS: Lessons learned from legislative steps taken by certain countries and other appropriate action to reduce the vulnerability of sovereigns to holdout creditors”. Ms. Yuefen Li, Special Advisor on Economics and Development Finance of the South Centre, spoke as a panelist and alerted the UN Member States of the current legislative challenges facing the sovereigns when it comes to the need for sovereign debt restructuring including the impact of the plurilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements.

(more…)

Policy Brief 26, June 2016

Debt Dynamics in China – Serious problems but an imminent crisis is unlikely

Recently, there have been many articles in the international media predicting that China is facing an imminent financial/debt crisis worse than the 2008 US sub-prime crash. However, a closer look at the debt dynamics in China highlights some fundamental differences be-tween the debt situation of the source country of the 2008 global financial crisis and that of China. (more…)

South Centre/ILO/IPD Brief, October 2015

 The Forthcoming Adjustment Shock

This policy brief is based on the working paper “The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries” by Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins, Jeronim Capaldo and Kalaivani Karunanethy, published by (more…)

South Centre/ILO/IPD Paper, October 2015

The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries

By Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins, Jeronim Capaldo, Kalaivani Karunanethy. Geneva: ILO, IPD Columbia University and the South Centre.

This paper: (i) examines the latest IMF government spending projections for 187 countries between 2005 and 2020; (ii) reviews 616 IMF country reports in 183 countries to identify the main adjustment measures considered by governments in both high-income and developing countries; (iii) applies the United Nations Global Policy Model to simulate (more…)

Policy Brief 19, July 2015

Financing for Development Conference 2015: A View from the South

On 19 July 2014 the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations agreed on a draft of a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, taking the first steps toward a renewed development agenda for after 2015. The effort to agree on the SDGs was the follow up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose end-date is 2015. Aside from the 17 specific goals, the draft SDGs included 169 associated targets. (more…)

Statements, 3-5 February 2015

South Centre Statements on Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes

The following are two Statements presented by the South Centre on Options for moving forward and Crisis Resolution & International Debt Workout Mechanisms for a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes. (more…)

Research Paper 60, January 2015

Internationalization of Finance and Changing Vulnerabilities in Emerging and Developing Economies

After a series of crises with severe economic and social consequences in the 1990s and early 2000s, emerging and developing economies (EDEs) have become even more closely integrated into what is widely recognized as an inherently unstable international financial system. Both policies in these countries and a highly accommodating global financial environment have played a role. Not only have their traditional cross-border linkages been deepened and external balance sheets expanded rapidly, but also foreign presence in their domestic credit, bond, equity and property markets has reached unprecedented levels. (more…)


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