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Role and Organization of a Debt Office

The debt crisis contributed heavily to the social and economic crisis in most developing countries in the 1980s, and its impact on the poorer developing countries continued through the 1990s. The debt overhang stunted investment, growth and world trade, and debt payments crowded out public expenditure on education, health and other social needs. An important contributing factor to the debt crisis was the neglect by many countries of the basic elements of debt management. This publication examines various models for the role, organization and location of a public debt office; the regulatory framework and institutional memory of debt management, involving the creation of procedure manuals for the inter- and intra-institutional tasks and information flows; and the degree of autonomy that a debt office can and should have.