IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Sustainability of German Fiscal Policy and Public Debt: Historical and Time Series Evidence for the Period 1850-2010

  • Heiko T. Burret
  • Lars P. Feld
  • Ekkehard A. Köhler

In the last decades, the majority of OECD countries has experienced a continuous increase in public debt. The European debt crisis has prompted a fundamental re]evaluation of public debt sustainability and the looming threat of sovereign debt default. Due to a multitude of large scale events in its past, Germany is far from being an exception: In fact, Germanyfs peacetime debt]to]GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio has never been higher. In this paper, we analyse the sustainability of Germanyfs public finances against the standard theoretical back]ground using a unique database, retrieved from multiple sources covering the period from 1850 to 2010. Multiple currency crises and external events offer anecdotal evidence, contradicting the historical perception of Germany as the poster child of European public finance. Given these corresponding breaks in time series, the empirical analysis is conducted for the sub]periods 1872]1913 and 1950]2010. In addition to an anecdotal his]torical analysis, we conduct formal tests on fiscal sustainability, including tests on stationarity and cointegration and the estimation of Vector Autoregression (VAR) and Vector Error Correction Models (VECM). While we cannot reject the hypothesis that fiscal policy was sustainable in the period before the First World War, the tests allow for a rejection of the hypothesis of fiscal sustainability for the period from 1950 to 2010. This evidence leads to the conclusion that Germanyfs public debt is in dire need of consolidation. Albeit a much needed reform, the incompleteness of the German debt brake will have to be addressed in the coming years, in order to ensure that fiscal consolidation actually takes place.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-02/cesifo1_wp4135.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4135.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4135
Contact details of provider: Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo.de
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Lars P. Feld, 2007. "Are Fiscal Adjustments less Successful in Decentralized Governments?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-06, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4135. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.