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How to assess debt sustainability? Some theory and empirical evidence for selected euro area countries

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  • Bettina Fincke
  • Alfred Greiner

Abstract

In this article we elaborate on the test proposed by Bohn (1998) that suggests to study whether the primary surplus relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a positive function of the public debt to GDP ratio in order to detect whether debt policies are sustainable. We argue that this should be complemented by additional tests for countries with rising debt to GDP ratios. We, then, apply that test to some countries of the euro area. In addition, we perform stationarity tests with respect to the real deficit inclusive of interest payments in order to gain additional insight. We conclude that there is empirical evidence that the chosen paths of fiscal policies are sustainable for the countries we consider, although there are country specific differences in debt policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bettina Fincke & Alfred Greiner, 2012. "How to assess debt sustainability? Some theory and empirical evidence for selected euro area countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(28), pages 3717-3724, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:28:p:3717-3724 DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2011.581213
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    Cited by:

    1. Paniagua, Jordi & Sapena, Juan & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2017. "Fiscal sustainability in EMU countries: A continued fiscal commitment?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 85-97.
    2. Niklas Potrafke & Markus Reischmann, 2012. "Fiscal Equalization Schemes and Fiscal Sustainability," ifo Working Paper Series 141, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Atsumasa Kondo, 2016. "Sustainability of Public Debt in an AK Model with Complex Tax System," Discussion Papers CRR Discussion Paper Series A: General 21, Shiga University, Faculty of Economics,Center for Risk Research.
    4. María Lorena Marí del Cristo & Marta Gómez-Puig, 2013. "“Fiscal sustainability and fiscal shocks in a dollarized and oil-exporting country: Ecuador”," IREA Working Papers 201306, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Apr 2013.
    5. Aldama Pierre & Jérôme Creel, 2016. "Why fiscal regimes matter for fiscal sustainability analysis : an application to France," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2016-15, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    6. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Žďárek, Václav, 2017. "Fiscal reaction function and fiscal fatigue: evidence for the euro area," Working Paper Series 2036, European Central Bank.
    7. Niklas Potrafke & Markus Reischmann, 2015. "Fiscal Transfers and Fiscal Sustainability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(5), pages 975-1005, August.
    8. Atsumasa Kondo, 2016. "Interconnection of Fiscal Policies on Sustainability of Public Debt," Discussion Papers CRR Discussion Paper Series A: General 20, Shiga University, Faculty of Economics,Center for Risk Research.

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