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Twin Deficits, Openness, and the Business Cycle

  • Giancarlo Corsetti
  • Gernot J. Müller

In this article, we study the co-movement of the government budget balance and the trade balance at business-cycle frequencies. In a sample of 10 OECD countries we find that the correlation of the two time series is negative, but less so in more open economies. Moreover, for the U.S. the cross-correlation function is S-shaped. We analyze these regularities taking the perspective of international business cycle theory. First, we show that a standard model delivers predictions broadly in line with the evidence. Second, we show that conditional on spending shocks the model predicts a perfect correlation of the budget balance and the trade balance. The effect of spending shocks on the trade balance is contained, however, if an economy is not very open to trade. (JEL:F41, F42, E32) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 404-413

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:2-3:p:404-413
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  1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Gernot J. Müller, 2005. "Twin Deficits: Squaring Theory, Evidence and Common Sense," Economics Working Papers ECO2005/22, European University Institute.
  2. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Christopher Telmer, 2009. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," NBER Working Papers 15525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Soyoung Kim & Nouriel Roubini, 2004. "Twin Deficit or Twin Divergence? Fiscal Policy, Current Account, and Real Exchange Rate in the US," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 271, Econometric Society.
  5. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1998. "Can sticky price models generate volatile and persistent real exchange rates?," Staff Report 223, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2002. "Financial autarky and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 601-627, April.
  7. David Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The S-Curve," NBER Working Papers 4242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2005. "Expansionary Fiscal Shocks and the US Trade Deficit," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 363-397, December.
  9. Gernot Mueller & Giancarlo Corsetti, 2007. "International Dimensions of Fiscal Policy Transmission," 2007 Meeting Papers 726, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Ravn, Morten O., 1997. "International business cycles in theory and in practice," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 255-283, April.
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