Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The real effects of debt

Contents:

Author Info

  • Stephen Cecchetti
  • Madhusudan Mohanty
  • Fabrizio Zampolli

Abstract

At moderate levels, debt improves welfare and enhances growth. But high levels can be damaging. When does debt go from good to bad? We address this question using a new dataset that includes the level of government, non-financial corporate and household debt in 18 OECD countries from 1980 to 2010. Our results support the view that, beyond a certain level, debt is a drag on growth. For government debt, the threshold is around 85% of GDP. The immediate implication is that countries with high debt must act quickly and decisively to address their fiscal problems. The longer-term lesson is that, to build the fiscal buffer required to address extraordinary events, governments should keep debt well below the estimated thresholds. Our examination of other types of debt yields similar conclusions. When corporate debt goes beyond 90% of GDP, it becomes a drag on growth. And for household debt, we report a threshold around 85% of GDP, although the impact is very imprecisely estimated.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work352.pdf
File Function: Full PDF document
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work352.htm
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 352.

as in new window
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:352

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centralbahnplatz 2, CH - 4002 Basel
Phone: (41) 61 - 280 80 80
Fax: (41) 61 - 280 91 00
Email:
Web page: http://www.bis.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: growth; public debt; private debt; debt threshold; ageing;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 11996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alexander Ludwig & Dirk Krüger, 2006. "On the Consequences of Demographic Change for Rates of Returns to Capital, and the Distribution of Wealth and Welfare," MEA discussion paper series 06103, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  5. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1987. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 2318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Attanasio, Orazio & Kitao, Sagiri & Violante, Giovanni L., 2007. "Global demographic trends and social security reform," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 144-198, January.
  7. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Christian Lundblad, 2004. "Does Financial Liberalization Spur Growth?," Working Paper Research 53, National Bank of Belgium.
  8. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Joseph E. Gagnon & Marc Hinterschweiger, 2011. "The Global Outlook for Government Debt over the Next 25 Years: Implications for the Economy and Public Policy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6215.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  12. Stephen G Cecchetti & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Stefan Krause, 2005. "Assessing the Sources of Changes in the Volatility of Real Growth," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & David Norman (ed.), The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle Reserve Bank of Australia.
  13. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2013. "Banking crises: An equal opportunity menace," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4557-4573.
  14. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian, 2001. "Emerging equity markets and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 465-504, December.
  15. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Public Debt as Private Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-88, May.
  16. Dynan, Karen E. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2006. "Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 123-150, January.
  17. Waldron, Matt & Zampolli, Fabrizio, 2010. "Household debt, house prices and consumption in the United Kingdom: a quantitative theoretical analysis," Bank of England working papers 379, Bank of England.
  18. Michael Keen & Alexander Klemm & Victoria Perry, 2010. "Tax and the Crisis," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 43-79, 03.
  19. Garry Tang & Christian Upper, 2010. "Debt reduction after crises," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
  20. Hansen, Bruce E., 1999. "Threshold effects in non-dynamic panels: Estimation, testing, and inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 345-368, December.
  21. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  22. 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.
  23. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  24. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "A Historical Public Debt Database," IMF Working Papers 10/245, International Monetary Fund.
  25. Aghion, Philippe & Hémous, David & Kharroubi, Enisse, 2014. "Cyclical fiscal policy, credit constraints, and industry growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 41-58.
  26. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  27. Franco Modigliani & Shi Larry Cao, 2004. "The Chinese Saving Puzzle and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 145-170, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:352. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Timo Laurmaa).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.