EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Does high public debt consistently stifle economic growth? A critique of Reinhart and Rogoff

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2014, vol. 38, issue 2, 257-279

Abstract: We replicate Reinhart and Rogoff (2010A and 2010B) and find that selective exclusion of available data, coding errors and inappropriate weighting of summary statistics lead to serious miscalculations that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies. Over 1946–2009, countries with public debt/GDP ratios above 90% averaged 2.2% real annual GDP growth, not −0.1% as published. The published results for (i) median GDP growth rates for the 1946–2009 period and (ii) mean and median GDP growth figures over 1790–2009 are all distorted by similar methodological errors, although the magnitudes of the distortions are somewhat smaller than with the mean figures for 1946–2009. Contrary to Reinhart and Rogoff’s broader contentions, both mean and median GDP growth when public debt levels exceed 90% of GDP are not dramatically different from when the public debt/GDP ratios are lower. The relationship between public debt and GDP growth varies significantly by period and country. Our overall evidence refutes RR’s claim that public debt/GDP ratios above 90% consistently reduce a country’s GDP growth.

Date: 2014
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (131) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bet075 (application/pdf)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
Working Paper: Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogo ff (2013) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:cambje:v:38:y:2014:i:2:p:257-279.

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.oup.co.uk/journals

Access Statistics for this article

Cambridge Journal of Economics is currently edited by Jacqui Lagrue

More articles in Cambridge Journal of Economics from Oxford University Press Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press () and Christopher F. Baum ().

 
Page updated 2021-07-29
Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:38:y:2014:i:2:p:257-279.