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Public Debt, Economic Growth and Nonlinear Effects: Myth or Reality

Listed author(s):
  • Balazs Egert

This paper puts the Reinhart-Rogoff dataset to a formal econometric testing to see whether public debt has a negative nonlinear effect on growth if public debt exceeds 90% of GDP. Using nonlinear threshold models, we show that the negative nonlinear relationship between debt and growth is very sensitive to modelling choices. We also show that when nonlinearity is detected, the negative nonlinear effect kicks in at much lower levels of public debt (between 20% and 60% of GDP). These results, based on bivariate regressions on secular time series, are confirmed on a shorter dataset (1960-2010) using a multivariate growth framework.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-03/cesifo1_wp4157.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4157.

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Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4157
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  1. Thomas Herndon & Michael Ash & Robert Pollin, 2014. "Does high public debt consistently stifle economic growth? A critique of Reinhart and Rogoff," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 257-279.
  2. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2010. "The impact of high and growing government debt on economic growth: an empirical investigation for the euro area," Working Paper Series 1237, European Central Bank.
  3. Andrea Pescatori & Damiano Sandri & John Simon, 2014. "Debt and Growth; Is There a Magic Threshold?," IMF Working Papers 14/34, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Hansen, Bruce E., 1999. "Threshold effects in non-dynamic panels: Estimation, testing, and inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 345-368, December.
  5. Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus & Doppelhofer, Gernot, 2007. "Nonlinearities in cross-country growth regressions: A Bayesian Averaging of Thresholds (BAT) approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 541-554, September.
  6. Panizza, Ugo & Presbitero, Andrea F., 2014. "Public debt and economic growth: Is there a causal effect?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 21-41.
  7. Markus Eberhardt & Andrea F. Presbitero, 2013. "This Time They’re Different: Heterogeneity and Nonlinearity in the Relationship between Debt and Growth," Discussion Papers 2013/10, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
  8. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Markus Eberhardt & Andrea F. Presbitero, 2013. "This Time They’re Different: Heterogeneity and Nonlinearity in the Relationship between Debt and Growth," Discussion Papers 2013/10, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
  10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-578, May.
  11. Stephen Cecchetti & Madhusudan Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2011. "The real effects of debt," BIS Working Papers 352, Bank for International Settlements.
  12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
  13. Deniz Baglan & Emre Yoldas, 2013. "Government debt and macroeconomic activity: a predictive analysis for advanced economies," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. 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.
  15. Baum, Anja & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2013. "Debt and growth: New evidence for the euro area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 809-821.
  16. Pier Carlo Padoan & Urban Sila & Paul van den Noord, 2012. "Avoiding debt traps: Fiscal consolidation, financial backstops and structural reforms," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2012(1), pages 151-177.
  17. Caner, Mehmet & Grennes,Thomas & Koehler-Geib, Fritzi, 2010. "Finding the tipping point -- when sovereign debt turns bad," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5391, The World Bank.
  18. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  19. 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.
  20. Douglas Sutherland & Sonia Araujo & Balázs Égert & Tomasz Koźluk, 2009. "Infrastructure Investment: Links to Growth and the Role of Public Policies," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 686, OECD Publishing.
  21. Pier Carlo Padoan & Urban Sila & Paul van den Noord, 2012. "Avoiding Debt Traps: Financial Backstops and Structural Reforms," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 976, OECD Publishing.
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