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Growth Implosions and Debt Explosions: Do Growth Slowdowns Cause Public Debt Crises?

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  • Easterly William R.

    () (World Bank)

Abstract

The worldwide growth slowdown after 1975 was a major negative fiscal shock; lower growth lowers the present value of tax revenues and primary surpluses and thus makes a given level of debt more burdensome. Most countries failed to adjust to the negative fiscal consequences of the growth implosion and so public debt to GDP ratios exploded. The growth slowdown therefore played an important role in the debt crisis of the middle income countries in the 1980s, the crisis of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) in the 1980s and 1990s, and the increased public debt burden of industrial countries in the 1980s and 1990s. Econometric tests and fiscal solvency accounting confirm the important role of growth in debt crises. In addition, the HIPCs’ debt problems were worse because they grew more slowly after 1975 than other low income countries due to worse policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Easterly William R., 2001. "Growth Implosions and Debt Explosions: Do Growth Slowdowns Cause Public Debt Crises?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-26, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:contributions.1:y:2001:i:1:n:1
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    Cited by:

    1. Nikoloz Gigineishvili & Paolo Mauro & Ke Wang, 2014. "How Solid Is Economic Growth in the East African Community?," IMF Working Papers 14/150, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Presbitero, Andrea F., 2008. "The Debt-Growth Nexus in Poor Countries: A Reassessment," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 2, pages 1-28.
    3. Helene Poirson Ward & Luca A Ricci & Catherine A Pattillo, 2004. "What Are the Channels Through Which External Debt Affects Growth?," IMF Working Papers 04/15, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Giang Ho & Paolo Mauro, 2016. "Growth—Now and Forever?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 64(3), pages 526-547, August.
    5. S M Ali Abbas & Nazim Belhocine & Asmaa El-Ganainy & Mark Horton, 2011. "Historical Patterns and Dynamics of Public Debt—Evidence From a New Database," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(4), pages 717-742, November.
    6. Swastika, Purti & Dewandaru, Ginanjar & Masih, Mansur, 2013. "The Impact of Debt on Economic Growth: A Case Study of Indonesia," MPRA Paper 58837, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Emanuel Kohlscheen, 2010. "Domestic vs external sovereign debt servicing: an empirical analysis," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 93-103.
    8. Manoel Bittencourt, 2012. "Economic Growth and Government Debt: Evidence from the Young Democracies of Latin America," Working Papers 201203, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    9. Thorvaldur Gylfason & Gylfi Zoega, 2006. "Natural Resources and Economic Growth: The Role of Investment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1091-1115, August.
    10. Cândida Ferreira, 2014. "Debt and economic growth in the European Union: what causes what?," Working Papers Department of Economics 2014/08, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    11. Mstislav Afanasyev & Nataliya Shash, 2016. "Microeconomic Effects Of Growing Public Debt On The Russian Economy," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 5, pages 46-59.
    12. Mathieu Grobéty, 2017. "Government Debt and Growth: The Role of Liquidity," Working Papers 2017-13, Swiss National Bank.
    13. World Bank, 2005. "Colombia : Public Expenditure Review," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8559, The World Bank.
    14. Yuanyan S Zhang & Steven A Barnett, 2014. "Fiscal Vulnerabilities and Risks from Local Government Finance in China," IMF Working Papers 14/4, International Monetary Fund.
    15. William Easterly, 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Debt Crises, and Economic Growth," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Ricardo J. Caballero & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (ed.), Economic Policies in Emerging-Market Economies Festschrift in Honor of Vittorio Corbo, edition 1, volume 21, chapter 8, pages 139-154 Central Bank of Chile.
    16. Cândida Ferreira, 2016. "Debt and Economic Growth in the European Union: A Panel Granger Causality Approach," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 22(2), pages 131-149, May.
    17. Rodney Ramcharan, 2003. "Reputation, Debt, and Policy Conditionality," IMF Working Papers 03/192, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Tito Cordella & Luca A Ricci & Marta Ruiz-Arranz, 2005. "Debt Overhang or Debt Irrelevance? Revisiting the Debt-Growth Link," IMF Working Papers 05/223, International Monetary Fund.

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