No. 31 - Italian Public debt since national unification. A reconstruction of the time series

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by Maura Francese and Angelo Pace October 2008

The paper presents the results of a reconstruction of the Italian public debt series since national unification. Computations use today's statistical methodology to obtain a database consistent with the national accounts. The reference sector is general government, not the state sector, as in many previous studies; the definition refers to consolidated gross debt (within and across subsectors). The database includes monthly times series for overall debt and its breakdowns by instrument and subsector. Given their frequency and length, the new data might be a useful tool for economic historians and students of public economics.
The work briefly presents the methodology and describes public debt developments over the last 150 years. Compared with previous data, the new series show higher debt average. The project is completed by a methodological annex in which sources and methods are described in more detail and by a database with monthly time series for the debt, its breakdown by instrument and subsector, and the consolidating items. All three components are available on the Bank of Italy website; in the future the series will be updated monthly and will remain available on the statistical section of the website.

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