The Political Economy of Government Debt. Alberto Alesina, March 2015, Paper. “This paper critically reviews the literature which explains why and under which circumstances governments accumulate more debt than it would be consistent with the prescriptions of optimal fiscal policy. Departures from optimality are linked to various political mechanisms which make real world governments depart from what a social planner should do. We also discuss numerical rules or institutional designs which might lead to a moderation of these distortions.” Link