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SUSTAINABILITY OF MENA PUBLIC DEBT AND THE MACROECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF THE RECENT GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

Simon Neaime ()

Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), 2010, vol. 02, issue 02, 177-201

Abstract: In the wake of the recent US financial crisis and after the accumulation of sizeable public debts, especially in the emerging MENA countries of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey, the financial distress of the public sector has become a major source of concern for policymakers in the region. Using time series econometric tests, and the Present Value Constraint model, this study examines the sustainability of MENA public debt. The empirical results point to strong sustainability of fiscal policies in Tunisia, weak sustainability in Egypt, mixed results for Morocco, and unsustainable debt and fiscal policies in Jordan and Turkey. It is argued that the acceleration of fiscal reforms in the latter group of MENA countries is urgently needed; otherwise, those countries may experience further increases in an already large public debt, and more pressure on exchange and interest rates, with further macroeconomic imbalances. It is also argued that the recent global financial crisis is expected to put further strains on Jordan's debt sustainability given its limited fiscal space and high debt to GDP ratio.

Keywords: MENA; debt; budget deficits; sustainability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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DOI: 10.1142/S1793812010000228

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