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Since the start of the financial crisis, industrial country public debt levels have increased dramatically. And they are set to continue rising for the foreseeable future. A number of countries face the prospect of large and rising future costs related to the ageing of their populations. In this paper, the authors examine what current fiscal policy and expected future age-related spending imply for the path of debt/GDP ratios over the next several decades. These projections of public debt ratios lead them to conclude that the path pursued by fiscal authorities in a number of industrial countries is unsustainable.
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