Budget Deficits, Current Account Deficits and Interest Rates: The Systematic Evidence on Ricardian Equivalence
AbstractThe recent reemergence of large U.S. government budget deficits has rekindled the debate as to whether deficits adversely impact real interest rates. The conventional “crowding out” hypothesis predicts that there would be such an adverse effect; the Ricardian “deficit neutrality” hypotheses predict no adverse impact. However, in a fully open economy, budget deficits affect the economy through the current account rather than the interest rate channel. Under the conventional view, current account deficits react one-for-one to budget deficits; under the Ricardian view, neither real interest rates nor current account deficits would react. In this paper, we examine the systematic evidence on the impact of budget deficits on both real interest rates and current account deficits. We test the conventional “crowding out” hypotheses against the Ricardian “deficit neutrality” alternative. Because our tests are structured on both interest rates and current account deficits, they have validity regardless of the extent of the openness of the U.S. economy over the time period of the analysis. We structure a series of tests that explore the impacts of both current and expected future budget deficits on (1) both interest rates and current account deficits; (2) across a variety of specification issues including data non-stationarity, lag structure, auxiliary variables, term structure, and functional form; and (3) over the period 1976 through 2002 which contains spectacular “natural experiment” variation in the data that should allow any links between budget deficits and interest rates or current account deficits to be easily detected. Our results are systematic and dramatic. Over the full structure of the specification space, there is no evidence of any positive effects of either current or expected future budget deficits on either real interest rates or current account deficits. Because of the large variation in the data generated by the natural experiment, economically significant effects can be clearly rejected. Moreover, when viewed over the full structure of the specification space, there appears to be a relatively significant and systematic negative effect of budget deficits on current account deficits (and sometimes but not systematically on interest rates). This latter effect is consistent with augmentations to an underlying Ricardian framework based on either uncertainty effects or intertemporal deadweight loss effects.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0404010.
Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: 13 Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 62
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://184.108.40.206
Other versions of this item:
- Roger C. Kormendi & Aris Protopapadakis, 2004. "Budget Deficits, Current Account Deficits And Interest Rates: The Systematic Evidence On Ricardian Equivalence," Macroeconomics 0403010, EconWPA.
- E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-04-18 (All new papers)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Stefano Schiavo, 2005.
"Euro bonds: in search of financial spillovers,"
Department of Economics Working Papers
0502, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
- Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2005.
"Current Account Balances, Financial Development and Institutions: Assaying the World "Savings Glut","
NBER Working Papers
11761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Meliha ENER & Feyza ARICA, 2012. "The current account-interest rate relation: A panel data study for OECD countries," E3 Journal of Business Management and Economics., E3 Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 048-054.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.