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Twin Deficits or Distant Cousins? Evidence from India1


  • Artatrana Ratha


The twin-deficits theory has intrigued economists and policy-makers alike for the past few decades. In a Keynesian economy, budget deficit increases the absorption of the economy, causes import expansions, and thereby, worsens the trade deficit. It also causes domestic interest rates to rise, domestic currency to appreciate, and thereby, contributes to trade deficits. However, according to the Ricardian Equivalence Hypothesis (REH), rising budget deficits imply higher future tax liabilities so people would save more and consume less. As a result, an inter-temporal shift between taxes and budget deficits would have no impact on the real interest, or the trade deficit. Thus, the issue of whether the twin-deficits phenomenon holds becomes more of an empirical question, and the recent fiscal expansions to curb recession makes it timely to revisit the phenomenon, especially for the developing countries confronting both the deficits on a chronic basis. To this end, we make a case study of India, using the bounds- testing approach to cointegration and error-correction modelling on monthly and quarterly data over 1998–2009. Our results suggest that the twin-deficits theory holds for India in the short-run (validating the Keynesian channel) but not in the long-run (validating the REH).JEL: F32, H62

Suggested Citation

  • Artatrana Ratha, 2012. "Twin Deficits or Distant Cousins? Evidence from India1," South Asia Economic Journal, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, vol. 13(1), pages 51-68, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:soueco:v:13:y:2012:i:1:p:51-68

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    Cited by:

    1. Mumtaz, Kinza & Munir, Kashif, 2016. "Dynamics of Twin Deficits in South Asian Countries," MPRA Paper 74592, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ashima Goyal & Abhishek Kumar, 2017. "The Effect of oil shocks and cyclicality in hiding Indian twin deficits," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2017-005, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    3. Yusuf Ekrem Akbas & Fuat Lebe, 2016. "Current Account Deficit, Budget Deficit and Saving Gap: Is the Twin or Triplet Deficit Hypothesis Valid in G7 Countries?," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(3), pages 271-286.
    4. Ashima Goyal & Abhishek Kumar, 2017. "The Effect of Oil Shocks and Cyclicality in Hiding Indian Twin Deficits," Working Papers id:11894, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item


    Bounds-testing; budget deficit; fiscal stimulus; India; trade deficit; twin deficits;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus


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