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Twin Deficits, Openness and the Business Cycle

  • Corsetti, Giancarlo
  • Müller, Gernot

In this paper, 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 US 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. Yet, the effect of spending shocks on the trade balance is contained if an economy is not very open to trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6492.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6492
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  1. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1994. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The J-Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 84-103, March.
  2. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Chris Telmer, 2005. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," 2005 Meeting Papers 115, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. 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.
  4. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2002. "Financial autarky and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 601-627, April.
  5. 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.
  6. Giancarlo Corsetti & Gernot J. Müller, 2005. "Twin Deficits: Squaring Theory, Evidence and Common Sense," Economics Working Papers ECO2005/22, European University Institute.
  7. 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.
  8. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2000. "Can Sticky Price Models Generate Volatile and Persistent Real Exchange Rates?," NBER Working Papers 7869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gernot Mueller & Giancarlo Corsetti, 2007. "International Dimensions of Fiscal Policy Transmission," 2007 Meeting Papers 726, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. 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.
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