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In this paper, we paint a statistical portrait of the determination of external debt for a set of low-and middle-income countries. The goal is to facilitate thinking about the role played by international capital flows in the development process. Empirically, we find that external debt is strongly increasing in the level of initial output. This remains true even when we control for variation in productivity and creditworthiness. We argue these results may lend some support to theories ofdoi:10.2202/1534-5998.1152 fatcat:4xvxfwajtvdsdg7cuxngxd5ydm