Sustainability of Government Debt in Sri Lanka


  • OG Dayaratna-Banda Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka
  • A A S Priyadarshanee



Government debt, Debt Ratios, Augmented Dicky-Fuller and Phillips-Perron Tests, Chow Test


This paper examines the impact of government budget deficit on debt sustainability in Sri Lanka by using a novel methodological approach. The study used annual time series data from 1960 to 2012 in Sri Lanka for empirical testing. Sustainability of government debt is tested by using face value, market value and discounted market value of government debt as a proportion of GDP. Discounted market value of debt to GDP ratio was calculated using weighted average interest rate. Results of Augmented Dickey Fuller and Phillips-Perron tests indicate that debt ratios are non-stationary implying the existence of an unsustainable debt outlook. Results of the Chow test, employed to test if a structural break can be observed in 1978 as a result of moving away from the command economy to a market-oriented economy, indicate that the policy change has not led to have any fixed change in the mean of debt serials. The results compel us to conclude that public debt in Sri Lankan is not sustainable, so that a switch is required from foreign debt to other sources of financing of fiscal deficit or deficit reduction.


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