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Government debt

Total amount of debt owed to lenders by a government/state / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A country's gross government debt (also called public debt, or sovereign debt[1]) is the financial liabilities of the government sector.[2]:81 Changes in government debt over time reflect primarily borrowing due to past government deficits.[3] A deficit occurs when a government's expenditures exceed revenues.[4] [2]:79–82 Government debt may be owed to domestic residents, as well as to foreign residents. If owed to foreign residents, that quantity is included in the country's external debt.[5]

In 2020, the value of government debt worldwide was $87.4 US trillion, or 99% measured as a share of gross domestic product (GDP).[6] Government debt accounted for almost 40% of all debt (which includes corporate and household debt), the highest share since the 1960s.[6] The rise in government debt since 2007 is largely attributable to the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

The ability of government to issue debt has been central to state formation and to state building.[7][8] Public debt has been linked to the rise of democracy, private financial markets, and modern economic growth.[7][8]