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Public Debt Dynamics; The Effects of Austerity, Inflation, and Growth Shocks


  • Fuad Hasanov
  • Reda Cherif


We study how macroeconomic shocks affect U.S. public debt dynamics using a VAR with debt feedback. Following a fiscal austerity shock, the debt ratio initially declines and then returns to its pre-shock path. Yet, the effect is not statistically significant. In a weak economic environment, the likelihood of a self-defeating austerity shock is much higher than in normal times. An inflation shock only slightly reduces the debt ratio for a few quarters. A positive growth shock unambiguously lowers debt. In our specification, the debt ratio is stationary, whereas a VAR excluding debt may imply an explosive debt path.

Suggested Citation

  • Fuad Hasanov & Reda Cherif, 2012. "Public Debt Dynamics; The Effects of Austerity, Inflation, and Growth Shocks," IMF Working Papers 12/230, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/230

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    Cited by:

    1. Gustav A. Horn & Fabian Lindner & Silke Tober & Andrew Watt, 2012. "Where now for the euro area crisis? Interim assessment and a model for a stable euro area," IMK Report 75e-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    2. Stanova, Nadja, 2015. "Effects of fiscal shocks in new EU members estimated from a SVARX model with debt feedback," MPRA Paper 63148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Gustavo Adler & Sebastian Sosa, 2016. "External Factors in Debt Sustainability Analysis: An Application to Latin America?," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 1(5), pages 81-120, June.
    4. Tielens, J. & van Aarle, B. & Van Hove, J., 2014. "Effects of Eurobonds: A stochastic sovereign debt sustainability analysis for Portugal, Ireland and Greece," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 156-173.
    5. Argentino Pessoa, 2013. "Regional integration and the euro crisis: problems and solutions," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1153, European Regional Science Association.
    6. repec:eee:jimfin:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:147-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gnegne, Yacouba & Jawadi, Fredj, 2013. "Boundedness and nonlinearities in public debt dynamics: A TAR assessment," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 154-160.
    8. Castro, Gabriela & Félix, Ricardo M. & Júlio, Paulo & Maria, José R., 2015. "Unpleasant debt dynamics: Can fiscal consolidations raise debt ratios?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 276-294.
    9. Benjamin Egron, 2018. "Réduction du ratio de dette publique : quels instruments pour quels effets ?," EconomiX Working Papers 2018-1, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    10. Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Metelli, Luca, 2017. "Is fiscal consolidation self-defeating? A panel-VAR analysis for the Euro area countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 147-164.
    11. ADAM, Alexandra, 2015. "Approaches Of Public Finance Sustainability Taking Into Account The Current Economic Context," Studii Financiare (Financial Studies), Centre of Financial and Monetary Research "Victor Slavescu", vol. 19(1), pages 93-101.
    12. Gustav A. Horn & Fabian Lindner & Silke Tober & Andrew Watt, 2012. "Quo vadis Krise? Zwischenbilanz und Konzept für einen stabilen Euroraum," IMK Report 75-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    13. Gustavo Adler & Sebastian Sosa, 2013. "External Conditions and Debt Sustainability in Latin America," IMF Working Papers 13/27, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Rossen Rozenov, 2016. "Optimal Fiscal Adjustment under Uncertainty," IMF Working Papers 16/69, International Monetary Fund.


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