Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between public debt expansion and economic growth and investigates whether the debt-growth relation varies with the level of indebtedness. We contribute theoretically by developing tests for threshold effects in the context of dynamic heterogeneous panel data models with cross-sectionally dependent errors. In the empirical application, using data on a sample of forty countries over the 1965–2010 period, we find no evidence for a universally applicable threshold effect in the relationship between public debt and economic growth. Regardless of the threshold, however, we find significant negative effects of public debt buildup on output growth.

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