Germany’s national dept – the development of the national dept of the Federal Republic of Germany in the period from 1950 to 2004.

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Wucherpfennig, Lutz
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    “Public debt is a controversially discussed revenue type of the state. Already in early centuries it was a controversial theme when palatial selfish rulers ran into debt to finance their construction activities (example: Old-Bavarian debt policy in the 17th and 18th century, see Zimmermann, H., 1999: Ökonomische Rechtfertigung einer kontinuierlichen Staatsverschuldung, in: Henke, K.-D. (eds.), 1999: Zur Zukunft der Staatsfinanzierung. Baden-Baden, p. 159). Given the level of public debt the discussion about the theoretical economic foundations and the legal restrictions is highly topical. In addition, the European Monetary Union and the European Stability and Growth Pact induced completely new debt limitations in Germany. Questions concerning the justification and limitation of public debt are not new, but sine 19th century important issues in the financial and political scientific discussion. The exclusivity of the topic public debt is due to the fact that it is not confined to one subject, but must be interdisciplinary discussed from an economic and legal perspective. This is because political and institutional factors need to be taken into account” (Wucherpfennig, a. cit., p.17). Issues associated with public debt are located at the interface between economics, law and politics. A consequence of this is that one subject area cannot ignore the findings of the others. The first part of this study is about the development of public debt and of business cycle policies in the Federal Republic of Germany, about the problems related with increasing public debt, about consolidation efforts and about the legal discussion. In the second part the development of public debt in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1950 to 2004 is presented empirically. Besides the total amount of the net debt and the debt level, the relation to other public finance data is of primary importance. “The level of debt and the annual burden of debt servicing and repayment may not be considered in isolation, but must be seen in relation to gross domestic product and the financial volume. Those relations are important that express the burden on public budgets and the economy through government debt and its associated interest charges. They are more informative than the absolute amount of debt, the new borrowing or the interest charges. Therefor there is no per capita presentation of the numbers. It has been shown that the per capita debt is not informative regarding the financial burden associated with debt.” (Wucherpfennig, a. cit., p. 31). The third part of the study is about the theoretical economic foundation that is important for the evaluation of public debt. “With the help of credits the state is able to widen significantly its opportunities for actions through a short term extension of the revenue side of public budget. The consequence is a medium and long term exposure to the expenditure side of public budget by interest and amortization expense. Those different short and long term aspects of public debt leaded into controversial judgments under finance experts. Accordingly diverse is the assessment of the reliability and need for public debt. Therefor part three presents some chosen theoretical economic approaches” (Wucherpfennig, a. cit., p. 54f). The fourth part is about public debt as a legal problem. Data tables in HISTAT: A.01 Net borrowing and deficit ratio of the total public budget (1950-2004) A.02 Level of debt and debt ratio of the total public budget (1950-2004) A.03 Net borrowing and level debt of the Federal government (1950-2004) A.04 Interest paid and interest-rate issue of the Federal government (1950-2004) A.05 Interest-tax rate and debt ratio of the Federal government (1950-2004)
Temporal Coverage
  • 1950 / 2004
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
    Germany. Federal Republic of Germany, 1950 to 2004.
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Text Unit
    Number of Units: 54
    Number of Variables: 10
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8491 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Wucherpfennig, Lutz, 2007: Staatsverschuldung in Deutschland. Ökonomische und verfassungsrechtliche Problematik. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Zugl.: Hannover, Univ., Diss., 2006.

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 93 | Registration Date: 2012-09-04