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Debt and Macroeconomic Stability: Debt and the Business Cycle

Author

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  • Volker Ziemann

    (OECD)

Abstract

Using a large panel of OECD countries this paper studies the link between debt and macroeconomic stability by comparing the evolution of balance sheet aggregates and economic output in high- and lowdebt environments. While the relationship between debt and economic growth has been extensively studied in the literature, only little attention has been paid to the impact of debt on volatility and higher moments of output growth distributions. This paper fills in this gap. Debt-fuelled expansions are found to typically last longer but to culminate in a more sizeable downturn. The greater amplitude of business cycles in high-debt environments reflects higher macroeconomic volatility but also higher tail risks and adverse asymmetries in output growth distributions. The induced welfare losses justify policy interventions aiming at preventing excessive build-ups in debt ex-ante. Endettement et stabilité macroéconomique: L'endettement et le cycle économique S’appuyant sur un vaste ensemble de pays de l’OCDE, ce document étudie le lien entre la dette et la stabilité macroéconomique en comparant l’évolution des agrégats des bilans et de la production économique dans des contextes d’endettement élevé et de faible endettement. Si la relation entre la dette et la croissance économique a fait l’objet de nombreuses études, il n’a guère été prêté attention à l’impact de la dette sur la volatilité et les moments supérieurs des distributions de la croissance de la production. Ce document comble cette lacune. Il constate que les phases d’expansion financée par le recours à l’endettement durent généralement plus longtemps mais se terminent par un ralentissement plus marqué de l’activité. La plus grande amplitude des cycles conjoncturels en situation de fort endettement reflète une plus haute instabilité macroéconomique mais aussi des risques extrêmes plus élevés et des asymétries défavorables dans les distributions de la croissance de la production. Les pertes de bien-être liées à ces phénomènes justifient les interventions des pouvoirs publics visant à éviter une accumulation excessive de dette ex ante.

Suggested Citation

  • Volker Ziemann, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability: Debt and the Business Cycle," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1005, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1005-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k8xb7613x9s-en
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola & Volker Ziemann, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1003, OECD Publishing.
    2. Francois Gourio, 2012. "Disaster Risk and Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2734-2766, October.
    3. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles, and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1029-1061, April.
    4. Scott, Robert C & Horvath, Philip A, 1980. " On the Direction of Preference for Moments of Higher Order Than the Variance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(4), pages 915-919, September.
    5. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2002. "Dissecting the cycle: a methodological investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 365-381, March.
    6. Rudiger Ahrend & Antoine Goujard & Cyrille Schwellnus, 2012. "International Capital Mobility: Which Structural Policies Reduce Financial Fragility?," OECD Economic Policy Papers 2, OECD Publishing.
    7. Rossana Merola, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability: Case studies," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1004, OECD Publishing.
    8. Anne Epaulard & Aude Pommeret, 2003. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 672-684, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dirk Bezemer, 2014. "Schumpeter might be right again: the functional differentiation of credit," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 935-950, November.
    2. Jason Nassios & James A. Giesecke & Peter B. Dixon & Maureen T. Rimmer, 2016. "Superannuation and Macroeconomic Growth and Stability," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-267, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
    3. Ashley Dunstan & Hayden Skilling, 2015. "Commercial property and financial stability," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 78, pages 1-10, March.
    4. Ivailo Yankov, 2016. "Endogenous Elements of the Firm Indebtedness in Bulgaria," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 126-140.
    5. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola & Volker Ziemann, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1003, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    amplitude des cycles conjoncturels; amplitude of business cycles; debt; macroeconomic stability; stabilité macroéconomique;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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