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Fiscal sustainability using growth-maximizing debt targets

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Listed:
  • Cristina Checherita-Westphal
  • Andrew Hughes Hallett
  • Philipp Rother

Abstract

This article highlights the importance of debt-related fiscal rules and derives growth-maximizing public debt ratios from a simple theoretical model. On the basis of evidence on the productivity of public capital, we estimate public debt targets that governments should maintain if they wish to maximize growth for panels of OECD, EU and euro area countries. These are not arbitrary numbers, but are founded on long-run optimizing behaviour assuming that governments implement the golden rule of financing; that is, they contract debt only to finance public investment. Our estimates suggest that the euro area should target debt levels of around 50% of GDP if member states are to have common targets. That is about 15% points lower than the estimate for the growth-maximizing debt ratio in our OECD sample and comfortably within the Stability and Growth Pact's debt ceiling of 60% of GDP. We also indicate how forward-looking budget reaction functions fit into a debt targeting framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristina Checherita-Westphal & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Philipp Rother, 2014. "Fiscal sustainability using growth-maximizing debt targets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(6), pages 638-647, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:46:y:2014:i:6:p:638-647
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2013.861590
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. EU-13 should spend more
      by Bruno Duarte in EUnomics on 2018-09-18 20:25:53

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Marc Fournier, 2016. "The Positive Effect of Public Investment on Potential Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1347, OECD Publishing.
    2. Ugo Panizza & Andrea F. Presbitero, 2013. "Public Debt and Economic Growth in Advanced Economies: A Survey," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 149(II), pages 175-204, June.
    3. Maria Manuel Campos & Cristina Checherita-Westphal & Pascal Jacquinot & Pablo Burriel & Francesco Caprioli, 2019. "Economic consequences of high public debt and challenges ahead for the euro area," Working Papers o201904, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    4. Vicente Esteve & Cecilio Tamarit, 2018. "Public debt and economic growth in Spain, 1851–2013," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(2), pages 219-249, May.
    5. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Hougaard Jensen, Svend E. & Sveinsson, Thorsteinn Sigurdur & Vieira, Filipe, 2019. "Sustainable fiscal strategies under changing demographics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 34-52.
    6. Markus Ahlborn & Rainer Schweickert, 2018. "Public debt and economic growth – economic systems matter," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 373-403, April.
    7. Isabelle Joumard & Peter Hoeller & Jean-Marc Fournier & Hermes Morgavi, 2017. "Public debt in India: Moving towards a prudent level?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1400, OECD Publishing.
    8. Alfred Greiner, 2015. "Public Debt, Productive Public Spending and Endogenous Growth," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 520-535, December.
    9. Gómez-Puig, Marta & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simón, 2017. "Heterogeneity in the debt-growth nexus: Evidence from EMU countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 470-486.
    10. Serhan Cevik, 2019. "Anchor me: the benefits and challenges of fiscal responsibility," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 33(1), pages 33-47, May.
    11. Gábor Kutasi, 2017. "Unsustainable Public Debt in a European Fiscal Union?," Revista Finanzas y Política Económica, Universidad Católica de Colombia, vol. 9(1), pages 25-39, February.
    12. Enrique R. Casares, 2015. "A relationship between external public debt and economic growth," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 30(2), pages 219-243.
    13. Falilou Fall & Debra Bloch & Jean-Marc Fournier & Peter Hoeller, 2015. "Prudent debt targets and fiscal frameworks," OECD Economic Policy Papers 15, OECD Publishing.
    14. Serhan Cevik, 2019. "Back to the Future: Fiscal Rules for Regaining Sustainability," IMF Working Papers 19/242, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Kourtellos, Andros & Stengos, Thanasis & Tan, Chih Ming, 2013. "The effect of public debt on growth in multiple regimes," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 35-43.
    16. Kamrul Huda Talukdar & Shahran Abu Sayeed, 2020. "Mobile Telecommunications and Social Development in Bangladesh," International Journal of Social and Administrative Sciences, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(1), pages 30-41, March.
    17. Bettina Fincke & Alfred Greiner, 2016. "On the relation between public debt and economic growth: an empirical investigation," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 137-150.
    18. Hela Ben Hassine Khalladi, 2019. "Fiscal fatigue, public debt limits and fiscal space in some MENA countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(2), pages 1005-1017.
    19. Ueshina, Mitsuru, 2018. "The effect of public debt on growth and welfare under the golden rule of public finance," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 1-11.
    20. Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Kamps, Christophe, 2020. "Debt rule design in theory and practice: the SGP’s debt benchmark revisited," Working Paper Series 2379, European Central Bank.
    21. Floriana Cerniglia - Enzo Dia - Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2018. "Fiscal sustainability vs. fiscal stability: tax and debt under entitlement spending," CRANEC - Working Papers del Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale crn1801, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale (CRANEC).
    22. Robert Ambrisko & Vilma Dingova & Michal Dvorak & Dana Hajkova & Eva Hromadkova & Kamila Kulhava & Radka Stikova, 2017. "Assessing the Fiscal Sustainability of the Czech Republic," Research and Policy Notes 2017/02, Czech National Bank.
    23. Zixi Liu, 2015. "Do debt and growth dance together? A DSGE model of a small open economy with sovereign debt," Working Papers 2015.05, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
    24. Floriana Cerniglia & Enzo Dia & Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2019. "Tax vs. Debt Management Under Entitlement Spending: a Multicountry Study," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 425-443, July.
    25. S. Menguy, 2014. "Which is the optimal fiscal rule in a monetary union? Targeting the structural, the global budgetary deficit, or the public debt?," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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