Debt and Growth Revisited
In a recent paper, we studied economic growth and inflation at different levels of government and external debt. The public discussion of our empirical strategy and results has been somewhat muddled. Here, we attempt to clarify matters, particularly with respect sample coverage (our evidence encompasses forty-four countries over two centuries--not just the United States), debt-growth causality (our book emphasizes the bi-directional nature of the relationship), as well as nonlinearities in the debt-growth connection and thresholds evident in the data (absolutely central points that seem to have been lost in some commentary.) In addition to clarifying the earlier results, this paper enriches our original analysis by providing further discussion of the high debt (over 90 percent of GDP) episodes and their incidence. Some of the implications of our analysis, including for the United States, are taken up in the final section.
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