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Fiscal Policy and Public Debt Dynamics in Italy

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  • Piergallini, Alessandro
  • Postigliola, Michele

Abstract

We examine the historical dynamics of government debt in Post-Unification Italy, from 1861 to 2009. Unit root tests for the debt-GDP ratio are unable to reject either the non stationarity or the stationarity null hypothesis. Controlling debt dynamics for fiscal feedback policies of the Barro-Bohn style, however, the debt-GDP ratio is found to be mean-reverting. Mean-reversion in the debt-GDP ratio is due not only to a nominal growth dividend, but also to a positive response of primary surpluses to variations in outstanding debt. There is indeed significant evidence that, over the history of Italy, fiscal policy makers have reacted to the accumulation of debt, taking corrective measures to rule out potential long-term sustainability problems.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28200.

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Date of creation: 18 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28200

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Keywords: Fiscal Policy; Public Debt; Fiscal Sustainability.;

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  1. Henning Bohn, 2005. "The Sustainability of Fiscal Policy in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 1446, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Hess Chung & Troy Davig & Eric Leeper, 2004. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy Switching," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 274, Econometric Society.
  3. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
  4. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root : How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
  5. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Bohn, Henning, 2007. "Are stationarity and cointegration restrictions really necessary for the intertemporal budget constraint?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1837-1847, October.
  7. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  8. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "A Historical Public Debt Database," IMF Working Papers 10/245, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Clemente, Jesus & Montanes, Antonio & Reyes, Marcelo, 1998. "Testing for a unit root in variables with a double change in the mean," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 175-182, May.
  10. Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry, 2007. "International Evidence on Fiscal Solvency: Is Fiscal Policy "Responsible"?," NBER Working Papers 12947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Emma Galli & Fabio Padovano, 2005. "Sustainability and Determinants of Italian Public Deficits before and after Maastricht," CESifo Working Paper Series 1391, CESifo Group Munich.
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