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Charts of the Week: G-20

With the 2019 G-20 summit underway in Osaka, Japan, this week’s Charts of the Week brings you analysis of some of the financial and development issues G-20 leaders have faced.  

Debt and deficits remain high in G-20 countries 

Gross debt-to-GDP ratios of G-20 countries

In 2010, the G-20’s advanced economies adopted a new policy of fiscal consolidation, resolving to halve their countries’ deficits by 2013 and stabilize their debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016. “Despite the G-20’s efforts, however, debt and deficits remain high,” Adam Triggs finds in his report. “The question is … whether G-20 coordination could help reduce them.” 

The case for multilateralism 

G-20 coordinated stimulus

In 2008, the G-20 expanded its agenda to address the global financial crisis on a multilateral scale. Preceding the last G-20 summit in December, Triggs warned against bilateral meetings, such as the anticipated talks between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend. “Economic benefits of multilateral cooperation far exceed those from bilateral cooperation,” Triggs writes. “The first-year GDP benefits from fiscal stimulus are, on average, twice as large when countries work together than when they act alone.” 

Addressing climate change

g-20 carbon pricing

G-20 countries account for more than 80% of global emissions that contribute to climate change. A report from Brookings Global Economy and Development outlines the actions required to limit global warming temperatures. “To support more ambitious Nationally Defined Contributions, G-20 countries should mainstream and set credible targets for carbon pricing and set firm deadlines for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies,” senior fellow Amar Bhattacharya writes. “Both can generate substantial revenues that can be used to finance an increase in sustainable investments and help facilitate a just transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient world.” 

Betsy Broaddus made significant contributions to this post.

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