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The Impact of Growing Public Debt on Economic Growth in the European Union

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  • Mencinger, Jernej
  • Aristovnik, Aleksander
  • Verbic, Miroslav

Abstract

The paper attempts to empirically explore the transmission mechanism regarding the short-term impact of public debt and growth. We examine and evaluate the direct effect of higher indebtedness on economic growth for countries in the EU which are in the epicentre of the current sovereign debt crisis. In comparison to similar empirical studies, our research will add to the existing literature by extending the sample of countries and providing the latest empirical evidence for a non-linear and concave (i.e. inverted U-shape) relationship. The empirical analysis primarily includes a panel dataset of 25 sovereign member states of the EU. Our sample of EU countries is divided into subgroups distinguishing between so-called ‘old’ member states, covering the period 1980–2010, and ‘new’ member states, covering the period 1995–2010. In order to account for the impact of the level of the debt-to-GDP ratio on the real growth rate of GDP, we employ a panel estimation on a generalized economic growth model augmented with a debt variable, while also considering some methodological issues like the problems of heterogeneity and endogeneity. The results across all models indicate a statistically significant non-linear impact of public debt ratios on annual GDP per capita growth rates. Further, the calculated debt-to-GDP turning point, where the positive effect of accumulated public debt inverts into a negative effect, is roughly between 80% and 94% for the ‘old’ member states. Yet for the ‘new’ member states the debt-to-GDP turning point is lower, namely between 53% and 54%. Therefore, we may conclude that the threshold value for the ‘new’ member states is lower than for the ‘old’ member states. In general, the research may contribute to a better understanding of the problem of high public debt and its effect on economic activity in the EU.

Suggested Citation

  • Mencinger, Jernej & Aristovnik, Aleksander & Verbic, Miroslav, 2014. "The Impact of Growing Public Debt on Economic Growth in the European Union," MPRA Paper 53243, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53243
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2014:i:1:p:19108863 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eco:journ1:2017-05-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:hpe:journl:y:2017:v:221:i:3:p:43-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rebeca Jimenez-Rodriguez & Araceli Rodríguez-López, 2016. "What happens to the relationship between public debt and economic growth in European countries?," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 151-160.
    5. Mencinger, Jernej & Aristovnik, Aleksander & Verbič, Miroslav, 2017. "Asymmetric effects of fiscal policy in EU and OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 448-461.
    6. Tomislav GLOBAN & Marina MATOŠEC, 2016. "Public Debt-to-GDP Ratio in New EU Member States: Cut the Numerator or Increase the Denominator?," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(3), pages 57-72, September.
    7. Adom, Philip Kofi, 2016. "The DDT Effect: The case of Economic Growth, Public Debt and Democracy Relationship," MPRA Paper 75022, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 11 Nov 2016.
    8. Nikola Milicevic & Aleksandar Grubor, 2015. "The effect of backroom size on retail product availability – operational and technological solutions," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 17(39), pages 661-661, May.
    9. Aleksander Aristovnik & Alka Obadic, 2015. "The impact and efficiency of public administration excellence on fostering SMEs in EU countries," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 17(39), pages 761-761, May.
    10. Ramkishen S. Rajan & Khee Giap Tan & Kong Yam Tan, 2015. "Fiscal sustainability in selected developing ASEAN economies," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 11(4/5/6), pages 186-203.
    11. Irina BILAN, 2015. "Economic Consequences Of Public Debt. The Case Of Central And Eastern European Countries," EURINT, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 2, pages 36-51.
    12. Eva Lajtkepová, 2016. "Differences And Similarities In The Indebtedness Of Eu Member States After Last Financial Crisis," Oeconomia Copernicana, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 7(4), pages 551-563, December.
    13. repec:ers:journl:v:xx:y:2017:i:2a:p:607-633 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Mencinger, Jernej & Verbic, Miroslav & Aristovnik, Aleksander, 2015. "Revisiting the role of public debt in economic growth: The case of OECD countries," MPRA Paper 67704, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Martin Berghausen, 2014. "Public Debt in the Eurozone," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(1), pages 55-57, 04.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy; public debt; economic growth; panel analysis; turning points; EU;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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