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The Impact of Growing Public Debt on Economic Growth in the European Union

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  • Mencinger, Jernej
  • Aristovnik, Aleksander
  • Verbic, Miroslav

Abstract

The paper attempts to empirically explore the transmission mechanism regarding the short-term impact of public debt and growth. We examine and evaluate the direct effect of higher indebtedness on economic growth for countries in the EU which are in the epicentre of the current sovereign debt crisis. In comparison to similar empirical studies, our research will add to the existing literature by extending the sample of countries and providing the latest empirical evidence for a non-linear and concave (i.e. inverted U-shape) relationship. The empirical analysis primarily includes a panel dataset of 25 sovereign member states of the EU. Our sample of EU countries is divided into subgroups distinguishing between so-called ‘old’ member states, covering the period 1980–2010, and ‘new’ member states, covering the period 1995–2010. In order to account for the impact of the level of the debt-to-GDP ratio on the real growth rate of GDP, we employ a panel estimation on a generalized economic growth model augmented with a debt variable, while also considering some methodological issues like the problems of heterogeneity and endogeneity. The results across all models indicate a statistically significant non-linear impact of public debt ratios on annual GDP per capita growth rates. Further, the calculated debt-to-GDP turning point, where the positive effect of accumulated public debt inverts into a negative effect, is roughly between 80% and 94% for the ‘old’ member states. Yet for the ‘new’ member states the debt-to-GDP turning point is lower, namely between 53% and 54%. Therefore, we may conclude that the threshold value for the ‘new’ member states is lower than for the ‘old’ member states. In general, the research may contribute to a better understanding of the problem of high public debt and its effect on economic activity in the EU.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 53243.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Publication status: Published in Amfiteatru Economics 35.16(2014): pp. 403-414
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53243

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Keywords: fiscal policy; public debt; economic growth; panel analysis; turning points; EU;

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References

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  1. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  2. Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Mankiw, N, 1999. "Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 2643866, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
  3. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  4. Emilian Dobrescu, 2011. "Some Issues Involved by the Policies Concerning Exchange Rate and Inflation. Quantitative Approach," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 13(29), pages 250-257, February.
  5. Mihaela Onofrei & Dan Lupu, 2012. "The Management of Economic Decline and the Dimension of Organizational Change," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(32), pages 470-484, June.
  6. Schclarek, Alfredo, 2004. "Debt and Economic Growth in Developing and Industrial Countries," Working Papers 2005:34, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Debt and Growth Revisited," MPRA Paper 24376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Stephen Cecchetti & Madhusudan Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2010. "The future of public debt: prospects and implications," BIS Working Papers 300, Bank for International Settlements.
  9. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2010. "The impact of high and growing government debt on economic growth: an empirical investigation for the euro area," Working Paper Series 1237, European Central Bank.
  10. Veli Yilanci, 2012. "Investigating Asymmetries in Macroeconomic Aggregates of Central and Eastern European Economies," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(31), pages 223-229, February.
  11. Pier Carlo Padoan & Urban Sila & Paul van den Noord, 2012. "Avoiding Debt Traps: Financial Backstops and Structural Reforms," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 976, OECD Publishing.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Berghausen, 2014. "Public Debt in the Eurozone," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(1), pages 55-57, 04.

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