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External Debt, Adjustment, and Growth

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  • Roberto S. Mariano

    ()
    (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

  • Delano Villanueva

    ()
    (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

Abstract

High ratios of external debt to GDP in selected Asian countries have contributed to the initiation, propagation, and severity of the financial and economic crises in recent years, reflecting runaway fiscal deficits and excessive foreign borrowing by the private sector. More importantly, the servicing of large debt stocks has diverted scarce resources from investment and long-term growth. Applying and calibrating the formal framework proposed by Villanueva (2003) to Philippine data, we explore the joint dynamics of external debt, capital accumulation, and growth. The relative simplicity of the model makes it convenient to analyze the links between domestic adjustment policies, foreign borrowing, and growth. We estimate the optimal domestic saving rate that is consistent with maximum real consumption per unit of effective labor in the long run. As a by-product, we estimate the steady-state ratio of net external debt to GDP that is associated with this optimal outcome. The framework is an extension of the standard neoclassical growth model that incorporates endogenous technical change and global capital markets. The major policy implications are that in the long run, fiscal adjustment and the promotion of private saving are critical; reliance on foreign saving in a globalized financial world has limits; and when risk spreads are highly and positively correlated with rising external debt levels, unabated foreign borrowing depresses long run welfare.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-2006.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision: May 2006
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:13-2006

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  1. Roberto Mariano & Delano Villanueva, 2005. "Sustainable External Debt Levels : Estimates for Selected Asian Countries," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22468, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
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  5. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A. & Romer, Paul M., 1991. "International trade with endogenous technological change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 971-1001, May.
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  7. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," NBER Working Papers 9908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth & Savastano, Miguel, 2003. "Debt intolerance," MPRA Paper 13932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1990. "Comparative Advantage and Long-run Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 796-815, September.
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  11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  12. Ichiro Otani & Delano Villanueva, 1989. "Theoretical Aspects of Growth in Developing Countries: External Debt Dynamics and the Role of Human Capital," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(2), pages 307-342, June.
  13. Hélène Poirson & Luca Antonio Ricci & Catherine A. Pattillo, 2004. "What Are the Channels Through Which External Debt Affects Growth?," IMF Working Papers 04/15, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Siti Daud & Jan Podivinsky, 2011. "Debt–Growth Nexus: A Spatial Econometrics Approach for Developing Countries," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-15, September.

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