A critical assessment of the debt-to-GDP ratio in developing countries

Akeem Rahaman*, Scott Mark Romeo Mahadeo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single metrics of public debt – such as the debt-to-GDP ratio – is the most common measure of government debt used in economic analysis due to its simplicity and availability. However, it provides an incomplete profile of a nation’s debt position, which is largely determined by country-specific factors. As such, we undertake a comprehensive and critical assessment of debt-to-GDP as the sole measure of government debt. We also recommend the use of alternative indicators and the consolidation of a composite debt index derived from globally recognized indicators of government indebtedness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Issues
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 16 Apr 2024


  • public debt
  • debt-to-GDP

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