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Public Debt and Growth

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  • Jaejoon Woo
  • Manmohan S. Kumar

Abstract

type="main" xml:id="ecca12138-abs-0001"> The recent global financial crisis has led to an unprecedented increase in public debt across the world, raising serious concerns about its economic impact. This paper examines the impact of high public debt on long-run economic growth in a large panel of countries over the last four decades. High initial public debt is found to be significantly associated with slower subsequent growth. Non-linearities, currency denomination of debt and differences between advanced and emerging market economies are explored. The adverse effect largely reflects a slowdown in labour productivity growth mainly due to slower capital accumulation. Extensive robustness checks confirm the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2015. "Public Debt and Growth," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(328), pages 705-739, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:82:y:2015:i:328:p:705-739
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecca.2015.82.issue-328
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    1. Francesco Caselli & James Feyrer, 2007. "The Marginal Product of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 535-568.
    2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 466-472, May.
    3. Carmen Reinhart & Vincent Reinhart, 2009. "Capital Flow Bonanzas: An Encompassing View of the Past and Present," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2008, pages 9-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-578, May.
    5. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
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