The impact of high and growing government debt on economic growth: an empirical investigation for the euro area
AbstractThis paper investigates the average impact of government debt on per-capita GDP growth in twelve euro area countries over a period of about 40 years starting in 1970. It finds a non-linear impact of debt on growth with a turning point—beyond which the government debt-to-GDP ratio has a deleterious impact on long-term growth—at about 90-100% of GDP. Confidence intervals for the debt turning point suggest that the negative growth effect of high debt may start already from levels of around 70-80% of GDP, which calls for even more prudent indebtedness policies. At the same time, there is evidence that the annual change of the public debt ratio and the budget deficit-to-GDP ratio are negatively and linearly associated with per-capita GDP growth. The channels through which government debt (level or change) is found to have an impact on the economic growth rate are: (i) private saving; (ii) public investment; (iii) total factor productivity (TFP) and (iv) sovereign long-term nominal and real interest rates. From a policy perspective, the results provide additional arguments for debt reduction to support longer-term economic growth prospects. JEL Classification: H63, O40, E62, E43
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1237.
Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
- O40 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-09-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBA-2010-09-03 (Central Banking)
- NEP-EEC-2010-09-03 (European Economics)
- NEP-FDG-2010-09-03 (Financial Development & Growth)
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