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The Dynamics of Government Debt and Economic Growth

Listed author(s):
  • Swamy, Vighneswara

The dynamics of government debt and economic growth, once a subject of interest mostly to very few macroeconomists is suddenly of immense attention for many researchers in the backdrop of Euro zone sovereign debt crisis and Reinhart & Rogoff’s related research. This study investigates the government debt – growth relationship and contributes to literature in the following ways: First, we extend the horizon of analysis to several country groupings and make the study inclusive of economic, political and regional diversities based on a sizeable dataset. Second, we provide evidence for the presence of a causal link going from debt to growth with the use of ‘instrumental variables approach’ unlike the RR approach. Third, we overcome the issues related to data adequacy, coverage of countries, heterogeneity, endogeneity, and non-linearities by conducting a battery of robustness tests. We find that a 10-percentage point increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio is associated with 2 to 23 basis point reduction in average growth. Our results establish the nonlinear relationship between debt and growth.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/63693/1/MPRA_paper_63693.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 63693.

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Date of creation: 16 Apr 2015
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:63693
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  1. Thomas Herndon & Michael Ash & Robert Pollin, 2014. "Does high public debt consistently stifle economic growth? A critique of Reinhart and Rogoff," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 257-279.
  2. Hansen, Bruce E., 1999. "Threshold effects in non-dynamic panels: Estimation, testing, and inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 345-368, December.
  3. Panizza, Ugo & Presbitero, Andrea F., 2014. "Public debt and economic growth: Is there a causal effect?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 21-41.
  4. Balázs Égert, 2015. "Public debt, economic growth and nonlinear effects: Myth or reality?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 226-238.
  5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
  6. Kourtellos, Andros & Stengos, Thanasis & Tan, Chih Ming, 2013. "The effect of public debt on growth in multiple regimes," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 35-43.
  7. Baum, Anja & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2013. "Debt and growth: New evidence for the euro area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 809-821.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
  9. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
  10. Alfred Greiner, 2013. "Debt and growth: Is there a non-monotonic relation?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 340-347.
  11. Adam, Christopher S. & Bevan, David L., 2005. "Fiscal deficits and growth in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 571-597, April.
  12. S M Ali Abbas & Jakob E Christensen, 2010. "The Role of Domestic Debt Markets in Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation for Low-Income Countries and Emerging Markets," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 57(1), pages 209-255, April.
  13. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Debt and Growth Revisited," MPRA Paper 24376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Lof, Matthijs & Malinen, Tuomas, 2014. "Does sovereign debt weaken economic growth? A panel VAR analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 403-407.
  16. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Perspectives on High World Real Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 273-334.
  17. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2012. "The impact of high government debt on economic growth and its channels: An empirical investigation for the euro area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1392-1405.
  18. Teles, Vladimir K. & Cesar Mussolini, Caio, 2014. "Public debt and the limits of fiscal policy to increase economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 1-15.
  19. Aizenman, Joshua & Kletzer, Kenneth, 2007. "Economic Growth with Constraints on Tax Revenues and Public Debt: Implications for Fiscal Policy and Cross-Country Differences," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9421k9hq, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  20. Nazrul Islam, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-1170.
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