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Fiscal Adjustment and the Costs of Public Debt Service: Evidence from OECD Countries

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  • Christoph A. Schaltegger
  • Martin Weder

Abstract

We use a panel of 21 OECD countries from 1970 to 2009 to investigate the effects of different fiscal adjustment strategies on long-term interest rates – a key fiscal indicator reflecting the costs of government debt service. A government confronted with high deficits and rising debt will sooner or later need to enact fiscal adjustments in order to avoid solvency problems. Over the last four decades, such measures taken by governments in OECD countries have varied in duration, size, composition and in their success to re-establish fiscal sustainability. Controlling for various economic, fiscal and political factors, we find that the size and the composition of a fiscal adjustment significantly affect interest rates as well as yield spreads. Adjustments that are relatively large and those that primarily depend on expenditure cuts lead to substantially lower long-term interest rates. However, periods of fiscal adjustments do not generally have an influence on interest rates, even if they were successful and led to lower deficits and debt levels. Instead, financial markets only seem to value strict and decisive measures – a clear sign that the government’s pledge to cut the deficit is credible.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph A. Schaltegger & Martin Weder, 2010. "Fiscal Adjustment and the Costs of Public Debt Service: Evidence from OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3297, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3297
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    Cited by:

    1. Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca & Rafał Trzeciakowski, 2015. "Windfall of Low Interest Payments and Fiscal Sustainability in the Euro Area: Analysis through Panel Fiscal Reaction Functions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 475-510, November.
    2. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Martin Weder, 2010. "Are Fiscal Adjustments Bad for Investment?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2010-17, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    3. Kleis, Mischa & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel, 2016. "The long-run effect of fiscal consolidation on economic growth: Evidence from quantitative case studies," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-047, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal adjustment; consolidation policy; government debt; deficit; interest rates;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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