The Brookings Institution and the Financial Times have released an update to the “Burden of Public Debt Around the World” interactive feature, which reflects the sovereign sovereign debt crisis in Europe and issues surrounding the U.S. debt ceiling debate. Brookings Senior Fellow Eswar Prasad and his colleague Mengjie Ding illustrate how the ongoing debt burden in advanced economies is now a global threat. The interactive feature at illustrates the vast difference in public debt held by advanced markets and emerging markets.

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According to the authors, the share of public debt held by countries will change dramatically in the next five years, with economically advanced markets’ debt rising at a higher pace than emerging markets.

Key findings include:

  • The average per capita debt in advanced economies is $29,600 in 2011 and is expected to be $40,400 in 2016. The burden of debt for U.S. citizens is $34,200 in 2011 and will rise to $49,100 by 2016. The debt burden for Japanese citizens will hit $85,000 in 2016, the highest level in the world.
  • The ratio of aggregate debt to aggregate GDP for advanced economies will rise from 46 percent in 2007 to 70 percent in 2011, and further to 80 percent in 2016. The corresponding ratios for emerging market economies are 28 per cent, 26 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
  • Aggregate debt of advanced economies will increase from $18,100 billion in 2007 to $29,500 billion in 2011, and is expected to rise to $41,300 billion in 2016. The corresponding numbers for emerging market economies are $3,800 billion, $4,900 billion and $6,700 billion, respectively.

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