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Debt and growth: New evidence for the euro area

  • Baum, Anja
  • Checherita-Westphal, Cristina
  • Rother, Philipp

Against the background of the euro area sovereign debt crisis, our paper investigates the relationship between public debt and economic growth and adds to the existing literature in the following ways. First, we use a dynamic threshold panel methodology in order to analyse the non-linear impact of public debt on GDP growth. Second, we focus on 12 euro area countries for the period 1990–2010, therefore adding to the current discussion on debt sustainability in the euro area. Our empirical results suggest that the short-run impact of debt on GDP growth is positive and highly statistically significant, but decreases to around zero and loses significance beyond public debt-to-GDP ratios of around 67%. This result is robust throughout most of our specifications, in the dynamic and non-dynamic threshold models alike. For high debt-to-GDP ratios (above 95%), additional debt has a negative impact on economic activity. Furthermore, we can show that the long-term interest rate is subject to increased pressure when the public debt-to-GDP ratio is above 70%, broadly supporting the above findings.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 809-821

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:32:y:2013:i:c:p:809-821
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

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  1. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2007. "Fiscal Policy in Real Time," Working Papers 2007-10, CEPII research center.
  2. Kremer, Stephanie & Bick, Alexander & Nautz, Dieter, 2009. "Inflation and growth: new evidence from a dynamic panel threshold analysis," Discussion Papers 2009/9, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  3. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. von Hagen, Jürgen & Schuknecht, Ludger & Wolswijk, Guido, 2011. "Government bond risk premiums in the EU revisited: The impact of the financial crisis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 36-43, March.
  5. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. " Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-89, September.
  7. Schclarek, Alfredo, 2004. "Debt and Economic Growth in Developing and Industrial Countries," Working Papers 2005:34, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  8. Caner, Mehmet & Hansen, Bruce E., 2004. "Instrumental Variable Estimation Of A Threshold Model," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(05), pages 813-843, October.
  9. Kazuhiko Hayakawa, 2009. "First Difference or Forward Orthogonal Deviation- Which Transformation Should be Used in Dynamic Panel Data Models?: A Simulation Study," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 2008-2017.
  10. Bruce E. Hansen, 1997. "Threshold effects in non-dynamic panels: Estimation, testing and inference," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 365, Boston College Department of Economics.
  11. Lorenzo Codogno & Carlo Favero & Alessandro Missale, 2003. "Yield spreads on EMU government bonds," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 503-532, October.
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