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The long-term consequences of external debt: Revisiting the evidence and inspecting the mechanism using panel VARs

Irfan Qureshi and Zara Liaqat

Journal of Macroeconomics, 2020, vol. 63, issue C

Abstract: We estimate a panel vector autoregression model to examine the relationship between external debt and economic growth. We use a large dataset based on 123 countries, classified according to income levels over the period 1990–2015. While total external debt appears to have a negative effect on growth rate overall, it is positively associated with income growth in the lower- and upper-middle income countries. Further disaggregating external debt into its components reveals that public external debt negatively affects economic growth across all income categories of countries, whereas the impact of private external debt is not statistically significant. We do not detect a common threshold level in the relationship between public debt and economic growth across countries. Savings and investment are the primary channels through which external debt impacts economic growth. These results are robust to various model specifications, additional controls, and identifying restrictions.

Keywords: External debt; Public debt; Private debt; Debt threshold; Economic growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H3 H6 O4 O57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2019.103184

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:63:y:2020:i:c:s0164070419302332