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The Puzzle of Persistently Negative Interest‐Rate–Growth Differentials: Financial Repression or Income Catch‐Up?

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  • Julio Escolano
  • Anna Shabunina
  • Jaejoon Woo

Abstract

The interest rate-growth differential (IRGD) shows a marked correlation with GDP per capita. It has been on average around 1 percentage point for large advanced economies during 1999-2008; but below -7 percentage points among non-advanced economies - exerting a powerful stabilizing influence on government debt ratios. We show that large negative IRGDs are largely due to real interest rates well below market equilibrium - possibly stemming from financial repression and captive and distorted markets, whereas the income catch-up process plays a relatively modest role. We find econometric support for this conjecture. Therefore, the IRGD in non-advanced economies is likely to rise with financial integration and market development, well before their GDP per capita converges to advanced-economy levels.
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  • Julio Escolano & Anna Shabunina & Jaejoon Woo, 2017. "The Puzzle of Persistently Negative Interest‐Rate–Growth Differentials: Financial Repression or Income Catch‐Up?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 179-217, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:38:y:2017:i::p:179-217
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    1. Philip Turner, 2013. "Benign neglect of the long-term interest rate," BIS Working Papers 403, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Jussi Lindgren, 2021. "Examination of Interest-Growth Differentials and the Risk of Sovereign Insolvency," Risks, MDPI, vol. 9(4), pages 1-14, April.
    3. van Riet, Ad, 2018. "Financial repression and high public debt in Europe," Other publications TiSEM 3391dd73-357a-4071-825c-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Bart W. Edes & Peter J. Morgan, 2014. "Managing Fiscal Sustainability and Aging in Emerging Asia," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 10(2), pages 319-348, August.
    5. Mr. Geremia Palomba & Mariusz Jarmuzek & Mr. David Amaglobeli & Mr. Nicolas End, 2015. "From Systemic Banking Crises to Fiscal Costs: Risk Factors," IMF Working Papers 2015/166, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Mr. Philip Barrett, 2018. "Interest-Growth Differentials and Debt Limits in Advanced Economies," IMF Working Papers 2018/082, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Miss Anke Weber & Mr. Tidiane Kinda & Ms. Priscilla S Muthoora & Till Cordes, 2015. "Expenditure Rules: Effective Tools for Sound Fiscal Policy?," IMF Working Papers 2015/029, International Monetary Fund.
    8. David Turner & Francesca Spinelli, 2011. "Explaining the Interest-Rate-Growth Differential Underlying Government Debt Dynamics," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 919, OECD Publishing.
    9. Simona Malovana & Josef Bajzik & Dominika Ehrenbergerova & Jan Janku, 2020. "A Prolonged Period of Low Interest Rates: Unintended Consequences," Research and Policy Notes 2020/02, Czech National Bank.
    10. Paolo Mauro & Jing Zhou, 2021. "$$r-g," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(1), pages 197-229, March.
    11. Jing Zhou & Mr. Paolo Mauro, 2020. "r minus g negative: Can We Sleep More Soundly?," IMF Working Papers 2020/052, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Nazim Belhocine & Mr. Salvatore Dell'Erba, 2013. "The Impact of Debt Sustainability and the Level of Debt on Emerging Markets Spreads," IMF Working Papers 2013/093, International Monetary Fund.
    13. David Turner & Francesca Spinelli, 2013. "The Effect of Government Debt, External Debt and their Interaction on OECD Interest Rates," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1103, OECD Publishing.
    14. Wenzlaff, Ferdinand & Kimmich, Christian & Richters, Oliver, 2014. "Theoretische Zugänge eines Wachstumszwangs in der Geldwirtschaft," ZÖSS-Discussion Papers 45, University of Hamburg, Centre for Economic and Sociological Studies (CESS/ZÖSS).
    15. Moreno Badia, Marialuz & Medas, Paulo & Gupta, Pranav & Xiang, Yuan, 2022. "Debt is not free," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    16. Jan Priewe, 2020. "Why 60 and 3 percent? European debt and deficit rules - critique and alternatives," IMK Studies 66-2020, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

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