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Public debt, corruption and sustainable economic growth

There are many studies that look into the relationship between public debt and economic growth. It is hard to find, however, research addressing the role of corruption between these two variables. Noticing this vacancy in current literature, we strive to investigate the effect of corruption on the relationship between public debt and economic growth. For this purpose, the pooled ordinary least squares (OLS), fixed effects models and the dynamic panel generalized method of moments (GMM) models (Arellano-Bond, 1991) are estimated with data of 77 countries from 1990 to 2014. The empirical results show that the interaction term between public debt and corruption is statistically significant. This confirms the hypothesis that the effect of public debt on economic growth is a function of corruption. The sign of the marginal effect is negative in corrupt countries, but public debt enhances economic growth within countries that are not corrupt, i.e., highly transparent.