Asymmetric modeling of the public debt-economic growth nexus in Ghana

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Abille A. B., KILIÇ E.

REVIEW OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, vol.8, no.2, pp.108-122, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/reps-03-2022-0022
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, ABI/INFORM, EconLit, Index Islamicus, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.108-122
  • Keywords: Public debt, Economic growth, NARDL, Ghana, TIME-SERIES, INVESTMENT
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


PurposeThe impact of debt on economic growth has attracted immense economic research necessitated by ballooning public debt stock among countries and most of the literature presume a symmetric relationship between debt and economic growth. However, this study contemplates an asymmetric relationship and thus relies on annual series from 1970 to 2019 to examine the asymmetric effects of public debt on economic growth in Ghana.Design/methodology/approachThe nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag (NARDL) bounds approach was employed. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is the dependent variable while public debt and other control variables each decomposed into their positive and negative shocks constitute the independent variables.FindingsThe results reveal that a positive shock to public debt insignificantly impacts the growth of the economy in the short and long runs. Also, a negative shock to public debt exerts significant short-run negative and insignificant long-run positive effects on the growth of the economy. The divergence in the short- and long-run effects on growth of a negative shock to public debt and the general insignificant effects of a positive shock to the same is a glitch that is attributed to overcapitalized loans and poor utilization of credit facilities.Practical implicationsThe study recommends "inter alia" that the government of Ghana strengthens the short to medium-term debt management strategies achievable through the enforcement of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) Act-921 and the Public Procurement Act (PPA) Act-914 to deal with any adverse effects of debt on the growth of the economy.Originality/valueThe novelty of the current study lies not only in the fact that it captures recent public debt dynamics at a time Ghana faces extreme fiscal constraints and escalating cost of debt servicing but it also does so in an asymmetric environment which is unprecedented an assumption in the analysis of Ghana's public debt-economic growth nexus.