Unsustainable sovereign debt—is the Euro crisis only the tip of the iceberg?
AbstractAs a direct effect of the financial crisis in 2008, public debt began to accumulate rapidly, eventually leading to the European sovereign debt crisis. However, the dramatic increase in government debt is not only happening in European countries. All major G7 countries are experiencing similar developments. What are the implications of this kind of massive deficit and debt policy for the long term stability of these economies? Are there limits in debt-ratios that qualitatively change policy options? While theory can easily illustrate these limits, where are these limits in real economies? This paper examines the relationship between sovereign debt dynamics and capital formation, and accounts for the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on debt sustainability for the four largest advanced economies. We contribute to the literature on fiscal sustainability by framing the problem in an OLG model with government debt, physical capital, endogenous interest rates, and exogenous growth. For the calibration exercise we extract data from the OECD for Germany as a stabilization anchor in Europe, the US, the UK, and Japan for almost two decades before the 2008 crisis. Except for intertemporal preferences, all parameters are drawn or directly derived from the OECD database, or endogenously determined within the model. The results of the calibration exercise are alarming for all four countries under consideration. We identify debt ceilings that indicate a sustainable and unsustainable regime. For 2011 all four economies are either close to, or have already passed the ceiling. The results call for a dramatic readjustment in budget policies for a consolidation period and long-term fiscal rules that make it possible to sustain sufficient capital intensity so that these economies can maintain their high income levels. Current conditions are already starting to restrict policy choices. However, the results also make it very clear that none of these economies would survive a second financial crisis such as the one in 2008. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal International Economics and Economic Policy.
Volume (Year): 10 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=111059
Fiscal sustainability; Primary deficit; Debt ceiling; Fiscal rules; OLG; Calibration; Advanced economies; H62; H63; E62; G01;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
- H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Moraga, Jesús Fernández-Huertas & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2010.
"Fiscal sustainability and public debt in an endogenous growth model,"
Journal of Pension Economics and Finance,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 277-302, April.
- Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2004. "Fiscal sustainability and public debt in an endogenous growth model," Working Paper Series 0395, European Central Bank.
- Quintos, Carmela E, 1995. "Sustainability of the Deficit Process with Structural Shifts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(4), pages 409-17, October.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011.
"From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
- Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Maurice Obstfeld, 2011.
"Stories of the Twentieth Century for the Twenty-First,"
NBER Working Papers
17252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Maurice Obstfeld, 2012. "Stories of the Twentieth Century for the Twenty-First," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 226-65, January.
- Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Obstfeld, Maurice, 2011. "Stories of the Twentieth Century for the Twenty-First," CEPR Discussion Papers 8518, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alfred Greiner, 2011. "Economic Growth, Public Debt and Welfare: Comparing Three Budgetary Rules," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(2), pages 205-222, 05.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
- Catherine Pattillo & Hélène Poirson & Luca Antonio Ricci, 2011.
"External Debt and Growth,"
Review of Economics and Institutions,
Università di Perugia, vol. 2(3).
- Karl Farmer & Jacopo Zotti, 2010. "Sustainable government debt in a two-good, two-country overlapping generations model," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 289-316, September.
- James D. Hamilton & Marjorie A. Flavin, 1985.
"On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for Empirical Testing,"
NBER Working Papers
1632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hamilton, James D & Flavin, Marjorie A, 1986. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for EmpiricalTesting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 808-19, September.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
- Annicchiarico, Barbara & Giammarioli, Nicola, 2004. "Fiscal rules and sustainability of public finances in an endogenous growth model," Working Paper Series 0381, European Central Bank.
- Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
- Oscar Bajo-Rubio & Carmen Díaz-Roldán & Vicente Esteve, 2010.
"On the sustainability of government deficits: some long-term evidence for Spain, 1850-2000,"
10-03, Asociación Española de Economía y Finanzas Internacionales.
- Oscar Bajo Rubio & Carmen Díaz Roldán & Vicente Esteve, 2010. "On the sustainability of government deficits: Some long-term evidence for Spain, 1850-2000," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 263-281, November.
- Voyvoda, Ebru & Yeldan, Erinc, 2005. "Managing Turkish debt: An OLG investigation of the IMF's fiscal programming model for Turkey," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 743-765, September.
- Chalk, Nigel A., 2000. "The sustainability of bond-financed deficits: An overlapping generations approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 293-328, April.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.