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

Author

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  • Alfred Greiner

    () (Bielefeld University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfred Greiner, 2013. "Debt and growth: Is there a non-monotonic relation?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 340-347.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-12-00881
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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2013/Volume33/EB-13-V33-I1-P33.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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, February.
    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. 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, March.
    6. 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, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joe A. Stone, 2016. "Do Balanced-Budget Rules Increase Growth?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 79-89, January.
    2. Swamy, Vighneswara, 2015. "Government Debt and Economic Growth – Decomposing the Cause and Effect Relationship," MPRA Paper 64105, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Buiter, Willem H. & Sibert, Anne C., 2016. "Government deficits in large open economies: The problem of too little public debt," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-39.
    4. Alfred Greiner, 2015. "Public Debt, Productive Public Spending and Endogenous Growth," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 520-535, December.
    5. Swamy, Vighneswara, 2015. "The Dynamics of Government Debt and Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 63693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Bettina Fincke & Alfred Greiner, 2016. "On the relation between public debt and economic growth: an empirical investigation," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 137-150.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Government debt; economic growth; non-monotonic relation;

    JEL classification:

    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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