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Is High Public Debt Always Harmful to Economic Growth? Reinhart and Rogoff and some complex nonlinearities

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  • Alexandru MINEA

    () (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International(CERDI))

  • Antoine PARENT

Abstract

In their already-famous 2010 article “Growth-in-a-Time-of-Debt” (AER-100(2)-pp.-573-78), Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff show that average post-WW2 economic growth is dramatically declining in advanced economies, once the debt-to-GDP ratio is above a 90% threshold. We explore the relevance of this exogenous threshold using up-to-date econometric techniques, and reveal an endogenously-estimated threshold around a debt-to-GDP ratio of 115%, above which the negative debt-growth link changes sign. Consequently, additional evidence is needed before suggesting policy recommendations regarding growth effects of fiscal policy in such high debt regimes, which may be subject to complex nonlinearities.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandru MINEA & Antoine PARENT, 2012. "Is High Public Debt Always Harmful to Economic Growth? Reinhart and Rogoff and some complex nonlinearities," Working Papers 201218, CERDI.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:1355
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    2. Antoine Parent, 2012. "A critical note on "This time is different"," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(2), pages 211-219, May.
    3. Andrés González & Timo Teräsvirta & Dick van Dijk & Yukai Yang, 1910. "Panel Smooth Transition Regression Models," CREATES Research Papers 2017-36, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 573-578.
    5. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "A Historical Public Debt Database," IMF Working Papers 10/245, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public debt; Economic growth; Nonlinear effects; Cliometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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