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Fiscal Policy and the Current Account: Are Microstates Different?

  • Yehenew Endegnanew
  • Therese Turner-Jones
  • Charles Amo Yartey
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    This paper examines the empirical link between fiscal policy and the current account focusing on microstates defined as countries with a population of less than 2 million between 1970 and 2009. The paper employs panel regression and panel vector autoregression (VAR) on 155 countries of which 42 are microstates. Panel regression results show that a percentage point improvement in the fiscal balance improves the current account balance by 0.4 percentage points of GDP. The real effective exchange rate has no significant impact on the current account in microstates but the coefficient is significant in the global sample. Panel VAR results show that an increase in government consumption results in real exchange appreciation but the effect on the current account after an initial deterioration dies out quicker in microstates than in the global sample. The result implies that fiscal policy has little effect on the current account in microstates beyond its direct impact on imports. Overall, the results suggest that the weak relative price effects make the effect of fiscal adjustment on the current account much more difficult in microstates.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/51.

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    Length: 27
    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/51
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    1. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "Fiscal Policy and the Current Account," IMF Working Papers 10/121, International Monetary Fund.
    2. H Armstrong, R de Kervenoael, Xiao-Ming Li and R Read, . "A Comparision of the economic performance of different micro-states and between micro-states and larger countries," Working Papers ec9/97, Department of Economics, University of Lancaster.
    3. Patrick A. Imam, 2008. "Rapid Current Account Adjustments: Are Microstates Different?," IMF Working Papers 08/233, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Kim, Soyoung & Roubini, Nouriel, 2008. "Twin deficit or twin divergence? Fiscal policy, current account, and real exchange rate in the U.S," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 362-383, March.
    5. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Love, Inessa & Zicchino, Lea, 2006. "Financial development and dynamic investment behavior: Evidence from panel VAR," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 190-210, May.
    7. Hassan Mohammadi, 2004. "Budget deficits and the current account balance: New evidence from panel data," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 39-45, March.
    8. W. E. G. Salter, 1959. "Internal And External Balance: The Role Op Price And Expenditure Effects," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(71), pages 226-238, 08.
    9. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
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