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Public debt, economic growth and nonlinear effects: Myth or reality?

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  • Balázs Égert

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Abstract

This paper puts the Reinhart-Rogoff dataset to a formal econometric testing to see whether public debt has a negative nonlinear effect on growth if public debt exceeds 90% of GDP. Using nonlinear threshold models, we show that the negative nonlinear relationship between debt and growth is very sensitive to modelling choices. We also show that when nonlinearity is detected, the negative nonlinear effect kicks in at much lower levels of public debt (between 20% and 60% of GDP). These results, based on bivariate regressions on secular time series, are confirmed on a shorter dataset (1960-2010) using a multivariate growth framework.

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File URL: http://www.wdi.umich.edu/files/Publications/WorkingPapers/wp1042.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number wp1042.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 15 Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2013-1042

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Keywords: public debt; economic growth; nonlinearity; threshold effects;

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  1. 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.
  2. Stephen Cecchetti & Madhusudan Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2011. "The real effects of debt," BIS Working Papers 352, Bank for International Settlements.
  3. Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus & Doppelhofer, Gernot, 2007. "Nonlinearities in cross-country growth regressions: A Bayesian Averaging of Thresholds (BAT) approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 541-554, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
  6. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Ugo Panizza & Andrea Filippo Presbitero, 2012. "Public Debt and Economic Growth: Is There a Causal Effect?," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 65, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  9. Bruce E. Hansen, 1997. "Threshold effects in non-dynamic panels: Estimation, testing and inference," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 365, Boston College Department of Economics.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Baum, Anja & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2012. "Debt and growth: new evidence for the euro area," Working Paper Series 1450, European Central Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Randall S. Jones & Satoshi Urasawa, 2013. "Restoring Japan's Fiscal Sustainability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1050, OECD Publishing.
  2. Mthuli Ncube & Zuzana Brixiová, 2013. "Public Debt Sustainability in Africa: Building Resilience and Challenges Ahead," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1053, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  3. Ruthira Naraidoo & Leroi Raputsoane, 2013. "Debt sustainability and financial crises in South Africa," Working Papers 201352, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  4. Luiz de Mello, 2013. "What Can Fiscal Policy Do in the Current Recession? A Review of Recent Literature and Policy Options," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 204(1), pages 113-139, March.
  5. Ugo Panizza & Andrea Filippo Presbitero, 2013. "Public Debt and Economic Growth in Advanced Economies: A Survey," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 78, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  6. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability: An Overview of the Literature and Some Empirics," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1006, OECD Publishing.
  7. David Turner & Francesca Spinelli, 2013. "The Effect of Government Debt, External Debt and their Interaction on OECD Interest Rates," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1103, OECD Publishing.
  8. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola & Volker Ziemann, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1003, OECD Publishing.

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