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Threshold Effects of Sovereign Debt: Evidence From the Caribbean

  • Lisa Drakes
  • Chrystol Thomas
  • Roland Craigwell
  • Kevin Greenidge

This paper addresses the issue of threshold effects between public debt and economic growth in the Caribbean. The main finding is that there exists a threshold debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 55–56 percent. Moreover, the debt dynamics begin changing well before this threshold is reached. Specifically, at debt levels lower than 30 percent of GDP, increases in the debt-to-GDP ratio are associated with faster economic growth. However, as debt rises beyond 30 percent, the effects on economic growth diminishes rapidly and at debt levels reaching 55-56 percent of GDP, the growth impacts switch from positive to negative. Thus, beyond this threshold, debt becomes a drag on growth.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/157.

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Length: 23
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/157
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  1. Hansen, B.E., 1991. "Inference when a Nuisance Parameter is Not Identified Under the Null Hypothesis," RCER Working Papers 296, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  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.
  3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  4. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Tito Cordella & Luca Antonio Ricci & Marta Ruiz-Arranz, 2005. "Debt Overhang or Debt Irrelevance? Revisiting the Debt Growth Link," IMF Working Papers 05/223, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Geoffrey J. Bannister & Luis-Diego Barrot, 2011. "A Debt Intolerance Framework Applied to Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic," IMF Working Papers 11/220, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Kenny, Charles & Williams, David, 2001. "What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-22, January.
  8. Williams, Martin & Daniel, Clive, 1991. "Government Activity and Economic Performance in a Small Developing Economy. ," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio di Genova, vol. 44(2-3), pages 269-281.
  9. Daniel Boamah & Winston Moore, 2009. "External Debt and Growth in the Caribbean," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(2), pages 139-157, July-Dece.
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