Debt and Macroeconomic Stability: Debt and the Business Cycle [E-Book] / Volker Ziemann
Ziemann, Volker.
Paris : OECD Publishing, 2012
25 p. ; 21 x 29.7cm.
OECD Economics Department Working Papers ; 1005
Full Text
Using a large panel of OECD countries this paper studies the link between debt and macroeconomic stability by comparing the evolution of balance sheet aggregates and economic output in high- and lowdebt environments. While the relationship between debt and economic growth has been extensively studied in the literature, only little attention has been paid to the impact of debt on volatility and higher moments of output growth distributions. This paper fills in this gap. Debt-fuelled expansions are found to typically last longer but to culminate in a more sizeable downturn. The greater amplitude of business cycles in high-debt environments reflects higher macroeconomic volatility but also higher tail risks and adverse asymmetries in output growth distributions. The induced welfare losses justify policy interventions aiming at preventing excessive build-ups in debt ex-ante.