The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The increase in the U.S. public debt over the past twelve years raises questions about its implications for investment and economic growth. This paper places these developments within an international and historical context and quantitatively examines the implications of various measures of the current U.S. public debt-to-GDP ratio on economic growth. The analysis is undertaken through extensions of recently developed endogenous growth models. The results suggest that while higher levels of the public debt may affect long-run economic growth negatively, the order of magnitude is not large enough to be a cause for serious concern.