Deborah Lucas, 05 December 2014

Governments run the world’s largest financial institutions. The size of government activities has grown in recent decades but comprehensive estimates are unavailable. This column presents new evidence on the costs of government credit support. It argues that governments tend to understate credit costs and the consequences of that could be considerable. Cost underreporting may lead to overinvestment and capital misallocation, could encourage the over-reliance on credit, reduce transparency, and cause a build-up of financial risk.

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