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Public debt and the limits of fiscal policy to increase economic growth

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  • Teles, Vladimir K.
  • Cesar Mussolini, Caio

Abstract

This study proposes a theoretical model of endogenous growth that demonstrates that the level of the public debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio should negatively impact the effect of fiscal policy on growth. This effect occurs because government indebtedness extracts a portion of young people's savings to pay interest on the debts. Therefore, the payment of debt interest requires an allocation exchange system across generations that is similar to a pay-as-you-go pension system, which results in changes in the savings rate of the economy. The major conclusions of the theoretical model were verified using an econometric model that provides evidence of the validity of this conclusion. Our empirical analysis controls for time-invariant, country-specific heterogeneity in growth rates. We also address endogeneity issues and allow for heterogeneity across countries in the model parameters and for cross-sectional dependence.

Suggested Citation

  • Teles, Vladimir K. & Cesar Mussolini, Caio, 2014. "Public debt and the limits of fiscal policy to increase economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 1-15.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:66:y:2014:i:c:p:1-15
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2013.11.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public debt; Endogenous growth; Fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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