Panelists Explore Impact of Rising Government Borrowing
Most developed nations have adopted deficit-financed programs of economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 recession. In the United States, the ratio of the national debt to gross national product is projected to exceed 100 percent this year, nearly three times the level of 15 years ago. Over the same period, real interest rates have declined, reducing the burden of servicing a given level of public debt. Three panelists at the NBER’s 36th Annual Conference on Macroeconomics on April 8 offered insights on the effects of rising debt levels on capital markets and long-term economic growth. Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University and NBER, who is currently chief economist of the World Bank, Ricardo Reis of the London School of Economics, and Lawrence Summers of Harvard University and NBER, presented their perspectives and outlined dimensions on which current policy developments are raising new research issues. The panel, which was moderated by Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and NBER, may be viewed above.