The Impact of Government Debt Levels on GDP Growth: A Panel Data Analysis
This paper analyzes the impact of government debt-to-GDP levels on GDP growth in 6 European Union Nations and 5 Middle Eastern countries. While government debt levels shot up in the EU as a result of massive fiscal stimulus following the Great Recession, debt levels have been steadily decreasing in certain Middle Eastern countries. Several variables are observed to determine the relationship between debt and growth, including real interest rates, unemployment, inflation, population growth, trade, and consumption. For the EU nations studied, panel least squares analysis indicates that every 10% increase in government debt-to-GDP costs 30 basis points of GDP growth. Results were found to be insignificant for the Middle Eastern Nations, which is in line with prior studies which conclude that the relationship is often inconclusive in countries with weak political institutions.