Effect on potential growth of non-sustainable public debt dynamics: an application to France
This paper assesses the impact on potential growth up to 2020 of possible future budget deficit dynamics in France, with new ageing-related expenditures financed exclusively by debt. The methodology calibrates a standard analytical model with production function and proportional taxes using national accounts. It documents the intuition according to which debt-building significantly crowds out productive capital accumulation. Simulations suggest that a crowding-out adjusted (public debt/GDP) ratio should keep increasing significantly, reaching 97% in 2020 at unchanged policies. It would stabilize around 60% only if sizeable primary surpluses (excluding new ageing-related expenditures) of 1.25% GDP were achieved on average. Yet the detrimental impact on potential growth of loose budget policies combined with new ageing-related expenditures financed only by debt would remain limited: around -0.1% GDP per year on average
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