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The Debt-Growth Nexus: a Dynamic Panel Data Estimation

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  • Andrea PRESBITERO

    ()
    (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between external debt and economic growth in poor countries. The adverse effects of external debt on economic performance are due to the crowding out of public investment and to the disincentive effects, because of debt overhang and uncertainty. Notwithstanding a general agreement on theory, empirical evidence is not conclusive and lacks of robustness. This contribution aims to shed more light on the relationship between external debt and economic growth and to draw some policy implication for debt relief. This work highlights the critical role of econometric and methodological issues. The results for a panel of 152 developing countries over the period 1977-2002 support a negative linear relationship between external debt and economic growth, and between debt service and investment. These effects are found to be stronger in the Low-Income Countries than in the overall sample, raising concern about the dramatic effect that debt has on economic performance in the world's poorest countries. In LICs, a debt reduction from a debt-to-exports ratio of 300 to the HIPC threshold of 150 is estimated to add more than one percentage point to per capita GDP growth, and a debt service reduction is found to be more than two times more effective than an equal increase in foreign aid. Eventually, external debt impairs economic growth through the liquidity constraint, the creation of macroeconomic instability, the lower efficiency of investment, and its effect on macroeconomic policies and institutional development.

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Paper provided by Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali in its series Working Papers with number 243.

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Length: 43
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:anc:wpaper:243

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Keywords: HIPC; debt relief; economic growth; external debt;

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  1. Steve Bond & Asli Leblebicioglu & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2004. "Capital Accumulation and Growth: A New Look at the Empirical Evidence," Economics Papers 2004-W08, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Janvier D. Nkurunziza & Robert H. Bates, 2003. "Political Institutions and Economic Growth in Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2003-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Hoeffler, Anke E, 2002. " The Augmented Solow Model and the African Growth Debate," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(2), pages 135-58, May.
  4. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
  5. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  6. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  7. Catherine Pattillo & Hélène Poirson & Luca Antonio Ricci, 2011. "External Debt and Growth," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 2(3).
  8. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond & Frank Windmeijer, 2000. "Estimation in dynamic panel data models: improving on the performance of the standard GMM estimator," IFS Working Papers W00/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Easterly, William & Loayza, Norman & Montiel, Peter, 1997. "Has Latin America's post-reform growth been disappointing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 287-311, November.
  10. Gupta, Sanjeev & Clements, Benedict & Baldacci, Emanuele & Mulas-Granados, Carlos, 2005. "Fiscal policy, expenditure composition, and growth in low-income countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 441-463, April.
  11. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
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