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What Are the Channels Through Which External Debt Affects Growth?

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Author Info

  • Hélène Poirson
  • Luca Antonio Ricci
  • Catherine A. Pattillo

Abstract

This paper investigates the channels through which debt affects growth, specifically whether debt affects growth through factor accumulation or total factor productivity growth. It also tests for the presence of nonlinearities in the effects of debt on the different sources of growth. We use a large panel dataset of 61 developing countries over the period 1969-98. Results indicate that the negative impact of high debt on growth operates both through a strong negative effect on physical capital accumulation and on total factor productivity growth. On average, for high-debt countries, doubling debt will reduce output growth by about 1 percentage point and reduce both per capita physical capital and total factor productivity growth by somewhat less than that. In terms of the contributions to growth, approximately one-third of the effect of debt on growth occurs via physical capital accumulation and two-thirds via total factor productivity growth. The results are generally robust to the use of alternative estimators to control (to different extents) for biases associated with unobserved country-specific effects and the endogeneity of several regressors, particularly the debt variables. In particular, the results are shown to be compatible with a simultaneous significant effect of growth on debt ratios, as suggested by Easterly (2001).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 04/15.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/15

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Related research

Keywords: External debt; Economic growth; total factor productivity; low debt; debt ratios; growth accounting; debt overhang; debt service; debt threshold; debt relief; debt stock; debt service to exports; indebted countries; debt stocks; gdp growth; debt ratio; debt crisis; external indebtedness; debt reduction; debt crises; growth model; gdp per capita; debt sustainability; total external debt; heavily indebted countries; repayments; gnp; foreign debt; debt accumulation; external debt sustainability; growth rates; debt data; debt-relief; public debt crises; external volatility; public debt; indebted country; highly indebted countries; net present value of debt; external finance; debt stock variables; debt explosions; growth rate; debt intolerance; external debt stock; debt rescheduling; repayment ability; debt servicing; debt term; debt problems; international lending;

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References

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  1. Easterly William R., 2001. "Growth Implosions and Debt Explosions: Do Growth Slowdowns Cause Public Debt Crises?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-26, February.
  2. Coe, David T & Helpman, Elhanan & Hoffmaister, Alexander, 1995. "North-South R&D Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 1133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Barro, R. & Mankiw, G., 1992. "Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1615, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Catherine Pattillo & Hélène Poirson & Luca Antonio Ricci, 2011. "External Debt and Growth," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 2(3).
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  7. Barry P. Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2003. "The Empirics of Growth: An Update," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 113-206.
  8. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  10. Nancy Birdsall & Stijn Claessens & Ishac Diwan, 2003. "Policy Selectivity Forgone: Debt and Donor Behavior in Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(3), pages 409-435, December.
  11. Cohen, Daniel, 1997. "Growth and External Debt: A New Perspective on the African and Latin American Tragedies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1753, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Beck, T.H.L. & Levine, R. & Loayza, N., 2000. "Finance and the sources of growth," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125520, Tilburg University.
  13. 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.
  14. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "Identification Through Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 777-792, November.
  16. 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.
  17. Susan M. Collins & Barry P. Bosworth, 1996. "Economic Growth in East Asia: Accumulation versus Assimilation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 135-204.
  18. Michael Sarel, 1996. "Nonlinear Effects of Inflation on Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 199-215, March.
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