The original essays in this book connect the microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches to public debt. Through their thought-provoking views, leading scholars offer insights into the incentives that individuals and governments may have in resorting to public debt, thereby promoting a clearer understanding of its economic consequences. The authors explore public debt along two distinct but complementary analytical paths. One path concerns microeconomic aspects of public debt as it emerges through budgetary processes where individuals respond to the costs and gains of different courses of action. The other concerns the systemic properties of rational individuals acting within a democratic system of political economy. Within this scheme of thought, the two levels of analysis are integrated by recognition that efforts to control macro-level outcomes must address the micro-level circumstances and conditions that promote public debt as systemic budgetary outcomes. Scholars and students, as well as policy makers in public debt and political economy, will find this critical resource invaluable to understanding this vital issue.