Government Debt and its Macroeconomic Determinants – An Empirical Investigation

27 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015

Date Written: May 2, 2015


In the context of rising government debt levels in advanced economies and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis, there has been a revival of academic and policy debate on the impact of growing government debt on economic growth. This data-rich study offers an econometric investigation of the macroeconomic determinants of government debt and answers the much-debated question – What factors influence the government debt in a sovereign country? The study provides analyses for economy groupings, political governance groupings and income groupings of countries in addition to the full sample. Panel Granger causality testing is employed to establish causality running from the determinants of debt. The results of the full sample analysis reveal that real GDP growth, foreign direct investment, government expenditure, inflation and population growth have negative effect on debt. Gross fixed capital formation, final consumption expenditure, and trade openness have positive effect on debt. The results for different country groupings bring out some interesting implications.

Keywords: Government Debt, economic growth, panel data, nonlinearity, country groupings

JEL Classification: C33, C36, E62, O5, O40, H63

Suggested Citation

P.M., Vighneswara Swamy, Government Debt and its Macroeconomic Determinants – An Empirical Investigation (May 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Vighneswara Swamy P.M. (Contact Author)

IBS-Hyderabad ( email )

62, Nagarjuna Hill
Hyderabad, TX AP 501504

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