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Public Debt, Economic Growth and the Real Interest Rate: A Panel VAR Approach to EU and OECD Countries

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  • Jan Jacobs
  • Kazuo Ogawa
  • Elmer Sterken
  • Ichiro Tokutsu

Abstract

We investigate the causal relationship between public debt ratios and economic growth rates for 31 EU and OECD countries. We estimate a panel VAR model that incorporates the long-term real interest rate on government bonds as a vehicle to transmit shocks in both the public debt to GDP ratio and the economic growth rate. We find no causal link from public debt to growth, irrespective of the levels of the public debt ratio. Rather, we find a causal relationship from growth to public debt. In high-debt countries, the direct negative impact of growth on public debt is enhanced by an increase in the long-term real interest rate, which in its turn decreases interest-sensitive demand and leads to a further increase in the public debt ratio.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Jacobs & Kazuo Ogawa & Elmer Sterken & Ichiro Tokutsu, 2020. "Public Debt, Economic Growth and the Real Interest Rate: A Panel VAR Approach to EU and OECD Countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(12), pages 1377-1394, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:52:y:2020:i:12:p:1377-1394
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2019.1673301
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    2. Helder Ferreira de Mendonça & Ytallo Brito, 2021. "The link between public debt and investment: an empirical assessment from emerging markets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(50), pages 5864-5876, October.
    3. Yu HSING, 2020. "On the relationship between economic growth and government debt for Bulgaria. Test of the Reinhart-Rogoff hypothesis," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(4(625), W), pages 187-194, Winter.
    4. Nikolaos Filippakis & Theodoros V. Stamatopoulos, 2021. "Public Debt and Economic Growth: A Review of Contemporary Literature," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 19(1), pages 33-50.
    5. Montes, Gabriel Caldas & Bastos, Júlio Cesar Albuquerque & de Oliveira, Ana Jordânia, 2019. "Fiscal transparency, government effectiveness and government spending efficiency: Some international evidence based on panel data approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 211-225.

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