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The Debt-Growth Nexus: a Dynamic Panel Data Estimation

  • Presbitero Andrea F.

This paper investigates the relationship between external debt and economic growth in developing countries. Notwithstanding a general agreement on theory, empirical evidence is not conclusive and lacks of robustness. This contribution aims to shed more light on the relationship between external debt and economic growth and to draw some policy implication for debt relief. This work highlights the critical role of econometric and methodological issues. The results for a panel of 69 developing countries over the period 1977-2002 support a negative linear relationship between external debt and economic growth, and between debt service and investment. These effects seem to be stronger in the Low-Income Countries than in the overall sample, raising concern about the dramatic effect that debt has on economic performance in the world's poorest countries. Eventually, external debt impairs economic growth through the liquidity constraint, the creation of macroeconomic instability, a reduced total factor productivity, and its effect on macroeconomic policies and institutional development.

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Article provided by Società editrice il Mulino in its journal Rivista italiana degli economisti.

Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 417-462

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Handle: RePEc:mul:jqat1f:doi:10.1427/24579:y:2006:i:3:p:417-462
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  1. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond & Frank Windmeijer, 2000. "Estimation in dynamic panel data models: improving on the performance of the standard GMM estimator," IFS Working Papers W00/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Gupta, Sanjeev & Clements, Benedict & Baldacci, Emanuele & Mulas-Granados, Carlos, 2005. "Fiscal policy, expenditure composition, and growth in low-income countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 441-463, April.
  3. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
  4. Easterly, William & Loayza, Norman & Montiel, Peter, 1997. "Has Latin America's post-reform growth been disappointing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 287-311, November.
  5. Stephen Bond & Asli Leblebicioglu, 2004. "Capital Accumulation and Growth: A New Look at the Empirical Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 2004-W08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Janvier Nkurunziza & Robert Bates, 2004. "Political Institutions And Economic Growth In Africa," Development and Comp Systems 0409028, EconWPA.
  7. Anke E. Hoeffler, 2000. "The Augmented Solow Model and the African Growth Debate," CID Working Papers 36, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  8. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  9. Hélène Poirson & Luca Antonio Ricci & Catherine A. Pattillo, 2002. "External Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 02/69, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
  11. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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