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Revisiting the Twin Deficits Hypothesis: The Effect of Fiscal Consolidation on the Current Account

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  • John Bluedorn
  • Daniel Leigh

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of fiscal consolidation on the current account. We examine contemporaneous policy documents, including Budget Speeches, Budgets, and IMF and OECD reports, to identify changes in fiscal policy motivated primarily by the desire to reduce the budget deficit, and not by a response to the short-term economic outlook or the current account. Estimation results based on this measure of fiscal policy changes suggest that a 1 percent of GDP fiscal consolidation raises the current account balance-to-GDP ratio by about 0.6 percentage point, supporting the twin deficits hypothesis. This effect is substantially larger than that obtained using standard measures of the fiscal policy stance, such as the change in the cyclically adjusted primary balance.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal IMF Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 59 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 582-602

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Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:59:y:2011:i:4:p:582-602

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  1. S M Ali Abbas & Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe & Antonio Fat�s & Paolo Mauro & Ricardo C Velloso, 2011. "Fiscal Policy and the Current Account," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(4), pages 603-629, November.
  2. Bussière, Matthieu & Fratzscher, Marcel & Müller, Gernot J., 2005. "Productivity shocks, budget deficits and the current account," Working Paper Series 0509, European Central Bank.
  3. Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2007. "Current account balances, financial development and institutions: Assaying the world "saving glut"," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 546-569, June.
  4. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori & Franc Klaassen, 2008. "The Effects of Public Spending Shocks on Trade Balances and Budget Deficits in the European Union," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 414-423, 04-05.
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Cited by:
  1. Bernhard Herz & Stefan Hohberger, 2013. "Fiscal Policy, Monetary Regimes and Current Account Dynamics," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 118-136, 02.
  2. Antonakakis, Nikolaos, 2013. "Fiscal Austerity, Unemployment and Suicide Rates in Greece," MPRA Paper 45198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Michael Kumhof & Douglas Laxton, 2009. "Fiscal Deficits and Current Account Deficits," IMF Working Papers 09/237, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Giuseppe Bertola & John Driffill & Harold James & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Ákos Valentinyi, 2014. "Chapter 3: Austerity: Hurting but Helping," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 75-90, 02.
  5. Romain Ranciere & Nathaniel A. Throckmorton & Michael Kumhof & Claire Lebarz & Alexander W. Richter, 2012. "Income Inequality and Current Account Imbalances," IMF Working Papers 12/8, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Antonakakis, Nikolaos & Collins, Alan, 2014. "The impact of fiscal austerity on suicide: On the empirics of a modern Greek tragedy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 39-50.
  7. Daniel Leigh & Andrea Pescatori & Jaime Guajardo, 2011. "Expansionary Austerity New International Evidence," IMF Working Papers 11/158, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Trachanas, Emmanouil & Katrakilidis, Constantinos, 2013. "The dynamic linkages of fiscal and current account deficits: New evidence from five highly indebted European countries accounting for regime shifts and asymmetries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 502-510.
  9. Islam, Roumeen, 2013. "Macroeconomic context and fiscal policy : Europe and Central Asia during 2000-2012," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6621, The World Bank.
  10. Matthias Hartmann & Helmut Herwartz, 2012. "Consolidation first - About twin deficits and the causal relation between fiscal budget and current account imbalances," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3313-3319.
  11. Beetsma, Roel & Giuliodori, Massimo & Hanson, Jesper, 2012. "Budgetary consolidation under different exchange rate regimes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 912-916.

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