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The fundamentals of sovereign debt sustainability: Evidence from 15 OECD countries

  • Christian Schoder

We study the sustainability of sovereign debt accumulation in 15 OECD countries using quarterly data from 1980 to 2010 with a focus on how and in what countries debt sustainability changed after the commencement of the Euro Convergence Criteria in 1997 as well as after the financial meltdown in 2007. We define sustainability as the validity of the inter-temporal budget constraint of the government and test a sufficient condition motivated by Bohn (1998) using single-country and pooled regressions. We find evidence that the Euro Convergence Criteria contributed to the sustainability of debt accumulation. Further, while the yield spreads suggest the debt crisis is a problem of the southern Euro countries, we find a lack of debt sustainability for Greece, Portugal and France but not for Italy and Spain. In terms of debt sustainability, the crisis adversely affected primarily stand-alone countries rather than members of the European Monetary Union. Nevertheless, yield spreads increased more in the southern countries of the monetary union than in stand-alone countries. Our results support the view that countries within a monetary union are more prone to investors' sentiments than stand-alone countries.

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Paper provided by IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute in its series IMK Working Paper with number 107-2013.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imk:wpaper:107-2013
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  1. Bohn, Henning, 1995. "The Sustainability of Budget Deficits in a Stochastic Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 257-71, February.
  2. Bohn, Henning, 1991. "The Sustainability of Budget Deficits with Lump-Sum and with Income-Based Taxation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 580-604, August.
  3. Alfred Greiner & Uwe Koeller & Willi Semmler, 2006. "Testing the sustainability of German fiscal policy: evidence for the period 1960–2003," Empirica, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 127-140, June.
  4. Alfred Greiner & Uwe Köller & Willi Semmler, 2007. "Debt sustainability in the European Monetary Union: Theory and empirical evidence for selected countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(2), pages 194-218, April.
  5. Chow, Gregory C & Lin, An-loh, 1971. "Best Linear Unbiased Interpolation, Distribution, and Extrapolation of Time Series by Related Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 372-75, November.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  7. Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, R., 1992. "Estimating Long-Run Relationships From Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9215, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Bohn, Henning, 2007. "Are stationarity and cointegration restrictions really necessary for the intertemporal budget constraint?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1837-1847, October.
  9. Christian Schoder & Christian R. Proaño & Willi Semmler, 2012. "Are the current account imbalances between EMU countries sustainable?," IMK Working Paper 90-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  10. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  11. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
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