Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Richard Burdekin

Rights Information

2020 Emily Attiyeh

OCLC Record Number



In reaction to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the United States federal government passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus, which would increase U.S. debt by approximately 10% of current GDP. The magnitude of this stimulus in such a short period of time is unprecedented. Furthermore, research by Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) warns of potential negative consequences for economic growth when the debt-to-GDP ratio surpasses 90%. This paper updates and evaluates the conclusions of Reinhart and Rogoff with a new 19-country sample from 2010-2019 to better understand the potential implications of the enacted stimulus. The results of the overall global regression show that a high debt-to-GDP ratio is associated with slowed growth in real output. Additionally, continent-specific regressions provide slightly different results, especially for North America, showing that an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio is associated with an increase in growth in real output. In conclusion, these results provide interesting insights but do not fully confirm or contradict Reinhart and Rogoff’s conclusions, and there still exists a level of uncertainty about the effects of debt.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.