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Debt and growth: Is there a non-monotonic relation?

  • Alfred Greiner

    ()

    (Bielefeld University)

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    In this note we theoretically investigate the question of whether the relationship between public debt and economic growth is characterized by an inverse U-shaped functional form. Starting point of our analysis is the paper by Checherita-Westphal et al. (2012) who present an endogenous growth model with public capital and public debt that displays a hump-shaped relation between debt and economic growth. We highlight the mechanism that generates this outcome and we generalize their model by allowing for a more general debt policy. We demonstrate that this non-monotonic relation only holds if public deficits are exogenously fixed and exactly equal to public investment at each point in time. With a more general debt policy, one realizes that smaller public deficits and lower public debt always lead to a higher balanced growth rate. Thus, starting from a situation where the public deficit equals public investment, governments can raise the long-run growth rate by reducing their deficits.

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2013/Volume33/EB-13-V33-I1-P33.pdf
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    Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 340-347

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    Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-12-00881
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    1. Alfred Greiner, 2011. "Economic Growth, Public Debt and Welfare: Comparing Three Budgetary Rules," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(2), pages 205-222, 05.
    2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," NBER Working Papers 15639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alexandru Minea & Patrick Villieu, 2009. "Borrowing to Finance Public Investment? The 'Golden Rule of Public Finance' Reconsidered in an Endogenous Growth Setting," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 103-133, 03.
    4. Alfred Greiner, 2008. "Does it Pay to Have a Balanced Government Budget?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(3), pages 460-476, September.
    5. Alfred Greiner & Peter Flaschel, 2010. "Public Debt And Public Investment In An Endogenous Growth Model With Real Wage Rigidities," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(1), pages 68-84, 02.
    6. 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.
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