Date Added: Sep 2010
The financial crisis of 2008/2009 has left European economies with a sizeable public debt stock bringing back the question what factors help to reduce these fiscal imbalances. Using data for the period 1985- 2009 this paper identifies factors determining major public debt reductions. On average, the total debt reduction per country amounted to almost 37 percentage points of GDP. The authors estimate several specifications of a logistic probability model. The findings suggest that, first, major debt reductions are mainly driven by decisive and lasting (rather than timid and short-lived) fiscal consolidation efforts focused on reducing government expenditure, in particular, cuts in social benefits and public wages.