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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

The Holding Structure and Distributional Effects of Government Debt: A Comparative Analysis of Europe

Tobias Arbogast and Leon Wansleben


 
The emphasis on lending rather than sovereign borrowing has figured prominently in Wolfgang Streeck’s recent work on the power relations between democracy and financial markets. To date, however, the precise distribution of ownership in government debt has remained unclear. We aim to fill this research gap with a comparative study of different European states. In doing so, our research goes beyond an aggregate or sectoral view to identify the actual owners of government bonds (institutions, corporations, and households). The project seeks to identify the creditors of various European states and aims to analyze the distributional effects of a given ownership structure of government debt. The difficulty of compiling data is resolved with triangulation, which includes integrating various data sets and a combination of diverse research methods. The distributional effects of the given ownership structure will be studied by reviewing and making innovative use of available methodologies. We especially aim to suggest how to account for both direct and indirect ownership as an increasingly prominent feature of today’s “financialized” economies. Project duration: February to September 2019.
 

 
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