This paper argues that in Euro-area economies, where the ECB cannot bail-out financially distressed governments, the fiscal multiplier is adversely affected by the amount of public debt. A regression model on a panel of 26 EU countries over the period 1996-2011 shows that a 10 percentage point increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio is connected to a slowdown in annual growth rates of 0.28 percentage point. Furthermore, the effectiveness of fiscal spending is adversely affected by the amount of public debt; for a debt-to-GDP ratio above 150% the impact on growth of the fiscal stimulus turns negative.
VRANCEANU, R. and BESANCENOT, D. (2012). The Fiscal Multiplier in a Time of Massive Public Debt: The Euro Area Case. ESSEC Business School.