Debt Talks


Debt Talks is a new online webinar series that will bring together diverse voices to discuss one of the most pressing economic issue of our times: the surge in indebtedness. We are inviting prominent thinkers, policy-makers, and scholars from different backgrounds and countries to present and debate their views . Each monthly webinar will feature a lively panel presentation followed by Q&A. INET Fellow Moritz Schularick will moderate the events.

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The world economy entered the COVID-19 pandemic with record debt levels. Since the global financial crisis, private and public debts have grown to more than $250 trillion, about three times global GDP. With the current crisis, global debt will surge even further. This has deep implications for the way our economies, societies, and politics work. What’s driving this increase in debt, and is indebtedness still manageable, or do we need a debt jubilee? Can households and companies cope with the overhang of debt? And what are the implications for growth, equity, and financial stability?

Topics will cover:


The Secular Rise of Debt

Why has debt grown so much in the past few decades, and what does it mean for the way our economies operate? In this first part of our series, we will aim to understand who the debtors are, and who the creditors, and what societal processes turned them into either one.


Debt, Wealth and Racial Inequalities

Racial inequalities of wealth and income are pervasive. What role do debt and credit markets play in creating and perpetuating this injustice? Is exclusion from and discrimination in credit markets a reason for low wealth accumulation, and how does predatory lending affect black and minority households?


Trade, Income, Debt: The Macro Dimension

Is debt accumulation in the West linked to globalization and the rise of China?


Can We Grow out of Debt?

Are current debt levels sustainable, and will they be a headwind for future growth, investment, and equality?


Do We Need Debt Restructuring?

Is a restructuring of debt the right way forward to restore growth and equality?


Developing Country Debt

Can developing countries cope with high debt levels?



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