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Sustainable External Debt Levels : Estimates for Selected Asian Countries

  • Roberto Mariano

    (SMU)

  • Delano Villanueva

High ratios of external debt to GDP in selected Asian countries have contributed to the initiation, propagation, and severity of the financial and economic crises in recent years, reflecting runaway fiscal deficits and excessive foreign borrowing by the private sector. Applying the formal framework proposed by Villanueva (2003) to a selected group of Asian countries, the research estimates the external debt thresholds beyond which further debt accumulation will have negative effects on growth and will become unsustainable. The framework is an extension of the standard neoclassical growth model that incorporates global capital markets. Sustainability is measured in terms of the steady-state ratio of the stock of external debt to GDP, as functions of real world interest rates, risk spreads and their responsiveness to external debt burdens and market perceptions of country risk, marginal propensities to save out of national disposable income and foreign borrowing, rates of technical change, and parameters of the production function. The major policy implications are that in the long run, fiscal consolidation and the promotion of private saving are critical, and that reliance on foreign saving in a globalized financial world has limits, particularly when the risk spreads are positively correlated with rising external debt levels.

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File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22468
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Macroeconomics Working Papers with number 22468.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:eab:macroe:22468
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1990. "Comparative Advantage and Long-run Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 796-815, September.
  2. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M & Tamura, Robert, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S12-37, October.
  3. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  4. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  5. T. W. Swan, 1956. "ECONOMIC GROWTH and CAPITAL ACCUMULATION," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 334-361, November.
  6. Delano Villanueva, 1993. "Openness, Human Development, and Fiscal Policies; Effectson Economic Growth and Speed of Adjustment," IMF Working Papers 93/59, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "International Trade with Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Swan, Trevor W, 2002. "Economic Growth," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(243), pages 375-80, December.
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