Okay, we can use total government expenditure rather than central - that's probably a better measure. But the numbers I saw for the Brazilian federal government showed constant government expenditures as a percent of GDP from 1995 to 2015. Have the states been increasing their expenditures while the federal government stays constant, or is there some reason to believe the World Bank is just completely wrong? Japan deliberately doesn't collect as much in taxes as most European countries, and chooses to run a perpetual deficit instead. Are you saying that this is a policy choice that should have no consequence for yields, because the government could theoretically raise taxes eventually if yields spike? I can think of one problem off the bat: its growth rate bumps along at nearly 0 even with the deficit. Should they increase taxes, their economy will likely contract, lowering the amount they'd actually get from their higher tax rate. IIRC, the vast majority of Japanese debt is domestic, and their population is unusually willing to put their money in domestic bonds to keep it safe despite the negligible yield. If that's true, that would be a big part of the puzzle. It still doesn't really explain why the rest of the developed world is capable of running deficits beyond their growth rate with little consequence, though. I said this: I left out individual Eurozone countries because they are not using their own currency and are chained to the monetary policies of the ECB. Portugal and Greece need to earn Euros to pay their debt, and have no control over their issuance. Subnational entities like US states are also in the same category. I don't have a Third Worldist belief about how government finance works, or at least I don't want to. I'm just pointing out a pattern that seems pretty consistent.