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The Impact of Government Debt on Private Consumption in OECD Countries

  • Robert-Paul Berben
  • Teunis Brosens

Using data for 17 OECD countries from 1983 to 2003, this paper establishes a non-linear relationship between private consumption and the level of government debt. In countries with a high level of government debt, a fiscal expansion is partly crowded out by a fall in private consumption. In contrast, in low debt countries, private consumption is insensitive to changes in government debt. This means that fiscal policy will be less effective in stabilising business cycle fluctuations at higher levels of government debt.

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 045.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:045
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  1. Douglas W. Elmendorf & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1998. "Government debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  2. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
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  7. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Vincent Hogan, 2004. "Expansionary Fiscal Contractions? Evidence from Panel Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 647-659, December.
  9. Choi, In, 2001. "Unit root tests for panel data," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 249-272, April.
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  12. Lorenzo Pozzi & Freddy Heylen & Maarten Dossche, 2004. "Government Debt and Excess Sensitivity of Private Consumption: Estimates from OECD Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(4), pages 618-633, October.
  13. Becker, Torbjorn, 1997. "An investigation of Ricardian equivalence in a common trends model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 405-431, August.
  14. Pedroni, Peter, 1999. " Critical Values for Cointegration Tests in Heterogeneous Panels with Multiple Regressors," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 653-70, Special I.
  15. Alexander Ludwig & Torsten Sloek, 2002. "The Impact of Changes in Stock Prices and House Priceson Consumption in OECD Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/1, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Roberto Ricciuti, 2003. "Assessing Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 55-78, February.
  17. Luiz de Mello & Per Mathis Kongsrud & Robert W.R. Price, 2004. "Saving Behaviour and the Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 397, OECD Publishing.
  18. Yongcheol Shin & Ron P Smith & Mohammad Hashem Pesaran, 1998. "Pooled Mean Group Estimation of Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," ESE Discussion Papers 16, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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