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The impact of high government debt on economic growth and its channels: An empirical investigation for the euro area

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  • Checherita-Westphal, Cristina
  • Rother, Philipp

Abstract

This paper investigates the average impact of government debt on per-capita GDP growth in twelve euro area countries over a period of about 40 years starting in 1970. It finds a non-linear impact of debt on growth with a turning point – beyond which the government debt-to-GDP ratio has a negative impact on long-term growth – at about 90–100% of GDP. Confidence intervals for the debt turning point suggest that the negative growth effect of high debt may start already from levels of around 70 to 80% of GDP. The channels through which government debt is found to have a non-linear impact on the economic growth rate are private saving, public investment and total factor productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2012. "The impact of high government debt on economic growth and its channels: An empirical investigation for the euro area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1392-1405.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:7:p:1392-1405
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2012.06.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public debt; Economic growth; Fiscal policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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