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Growth in a Time of Debt

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  • Carmen M. Reinhart
  • Kenneth S. Rogoff

Abstract

We study economic growth and inflation at different levels of government and external debt. Our analysis is based on new data on forty-four countries spanning about two hundred years. The dataset incorporates over 3,700 annual observations covering a wide range of political systems, institutions, exchange rate arrangements, and historic circumstances. Our main findings are: First, the relationship between government debt and real GDP growth is weak for debt/GDP ratios below a threshold of 90 percent of GDP. Above 90 percent, median growth rates fall by one percent, and average growth falls considerably more. We find that the threshold for public debt is similar in advanced and emerging economies. Second, emerging markets face lower thresholds for external debt (public and private)—which is usually denominated in a foreign currency. When external debt reaches 60 percent of GDP, annual growth declines by about two percent; for higher levels, growth rates are roughly cut in half. Third, there is no apparent contemporaneous link between inflation and public debt levels for the advanced countries as a group (some countries, such as the United States, have experienced higher inflation when debt/GDP is high.) The story is entirely different for emerging markets, where inflation rises sharply as debt increases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15639.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Publication status: published as Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-78, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15639

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  1. 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.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," NBER Working Papers 13946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," NBER Working Papers 9908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth & Savastano, Miguel, 2003. "Debt intolerance," MPRA Paper 13932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 14656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Anastasia Guscina & Olivier Jeanne, 2006. "Government Debt in Emerging Market Countries," IMF Working Papers 06/98, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," Scholarly Articles 11129155, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Some thoughts on the Reinhart and Rogoff debate
    by Gray in Pseudo-true News on 2013-04-24 05:06:23
  2. Brief notes before April 17th macro lecture
    by Gray in Pseudo-true News on 2013-04-17 07:08:11
  3. Il n’y a pas de seuil magique dans la relation entre croissance et endettement
    by ? in D'un champ l'autre on 2014-02-15 14:08:00
  4. Reposting from my Forbes blog: the debate on Debt and GDP
    by Richard Green in Richard's Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog on 2013-04-18 16:53:00
  5. Crecimiento económico y deuda pública
    by ? in Tiempo Económico on 2013-04-21 20:23:21
  6. Scene dalla vita di provincia: prefazione
    by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2013-06-27 08:04:00
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