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Financial Stress and the Impact of Public Debt on UK Growth in High versus Low-Growth Regimes: 1850-2013

  • Costas Milas


    (University of Liverpool, UK; Rimini Centre of Economic Analysis, Italy)

Using a long historical dataset, we estimate a Threshold Vector Autoregression (T-VAR) model for the UK based on a financial stress measure, the debt-to-GDP ratio, borrowing costs and real GDP growth. Our model allows for the impact of debt/GDP to vary between periods of high and low economic growth. We find that financial stress depresses growth much more in the low as opposed to the high-growth regime. We also find that positive shocks to debt/GDP depress economic growth and raise borrowing costs; again, the impact is much stronger when growth is low. This is an important finding as economists and policy-makers are currently debating whether it makes sense to proceed swiftly with fiscal consolidation when economic conditions remain weak.

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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 13_14.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:13_14
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  1. Nathan S. Balke, 2000. "Credit and Economic Activity: Credit Regimes and Nonlinear Propagation of Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 344-349, May.
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  8. Cardarelli, Roberto & Elekdag, Selim & Lall, Subir, 2011. "Financial stress and economic contractions," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 78-97, June.
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  12. 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.
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  15. Stephan Danninger & Irina Tytell & Ravi Balakrishnan & Selim Elekdag, 2009. "The Transmission of Financial Stress from Advanced to Emerging Economies," IMF Working Papers 09/133, International Monetary Fund.
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