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Twin Deficits: Apparition or Reality?

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  • Lori Leachman
  • Bill Francis

Abstract

This paper uses cointegration and multicointegration analysis to explore the issue of twin deficits for the USA in the post-World War II period. The results suggest that prior to 1974 the systems of fiscal and foreign sector variables exhibit multicointegration. These results do not rule out short-run correlations between government deficits and external deficits. However, they do preclude the possibility that the twin deficit phenomenon describes a long-run structural relationship in the post-World War II, Bretton Woods era. In the more recent period, 1974 forward, neither system exhibits evidence of multi/cointegration. But, weak evidence of cointegration is present between fiscal deficits and trade deficits. Error correction models suggest that causality runs from internal to external deficits in the dynamic adjustment process. This evidence provides some support for the notion that more recently fiscal deficits may have contributed to external deficits. In combination with the results from the early sub-period, the evidence indicates that to the extent the twin deficit relationship exists, it is time specific and weak.

Suggested Citation

  • Lori Leachman & Bill Francis, 2002. "Twin Deficits: Apparition or Reality?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(9), pages 1121-1132.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:34:y:2002:i:9:p:1121-1132
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840110069976
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    1. Engle, R. F. & Granger, C. W. J. (ed.), 1991. "Long-Run Economic Relationships: Readings in Cointegration," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283393.
    2. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Debt problems and macroeconomic policies," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 165-208.
    3. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Nouriel Roubini, 1987. "Sources of Macroeconomic Imbalances in the World Economy: A Simulation Approach," NBER Working Papers 2339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Engsted, T. & Johansen, S., 1997. "Granger's Representation Theorem and Multicointegration," Economics Working Papers eco97/15, European University Institute.
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