European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Department of Economics Working Papers,
Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics

Financial Stress, Sovereign Debt and Economic Activity in Industrialized Countries: Evidence from Dynamic Threshold Regressions

Christian R. Proaño (), Christian Schoder () and Willi Semmler
Additional contact information
Christian R. Proaño: Department of Economics, The New School for Social Research
Christian Schoder: Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Willi Semmler: Department of Economics, The New School for Social Research

Abstract: We analyze how the impact of a change in the sovereign debt-to-GDP ratio on economic growth depends on the level of debt, the stress level on the financial market and the membership in a monetary union. A dynamic growth model is put forward demonstrating that debt affects macroeconomic activity in a non-linear manner due to amplifications from the financial sector. Employing dynamic country-specific and dynamic panel threshold regression methods, we study the non-linear relation between the growth rate and the debt-to-GDP ratio using quarterly data for sixteen industrialized countries for the period 1981Q1-2013Q2. We find that the debt-to-GDP ratio has impaired economic growth primarily during times of high financial stress and only for countries of the European Monetary Union and not for the stand-alone countries in our sample. A high debt-to-GDP ratio by itself does not seem to necessarily negatively affect growth if financial markets are calm.

Keywords: financial stress, sovereign debt, economic growth, dynamic panel threshold regression

JEL-codes: E20; G15; H63 February 2014

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