We investigate in this paper what are the main determinants of government and external debt in Latin America. Our sample includes nine Latin American countries that re-democratised in the last 30 years or so, and the data cover the period between 1970 and 2007. The results, based on principal component and dynamic panel data analyses (we use the Pooled OLS, Fixed Effects, Fixed Effects with Instrumental Variables, DIF-GMM and SYS-GMM estimators), robustly suggest that economic growth, presumably via the automatic stabilisers, has had the ability of reducing debt in the region. Other important candidates suggested by the literature do not present clear-cut estimates on debt. Essentially, this suggests that the tax-smoothing model still holds in Latin America, which in times of debt crisis is very suggestive of the importance of fast economic activity in keeping debt under control.Growth, Debt, Latin America
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