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External Debt, Adjustment, and Growth

Author

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  • Roberto S. Mariano

    () (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

  • Delano Villanueva

    () (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

Abstract

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. More importantly, the servicing of large debt stocks has diverted scarce resources from investment and long-term growth. Applying and calibrating the formal framework proposed by Villanueva (2003) to Philippine data, we explore the joint dynamics of external debt, capital accumulation, and growth. The relative simplicity of the model makes it convenient to analyze the links between domestic adjustment policies, foreign borrowing, and growth. We estimate the optimal domestic saving rate that is consistent with maximum real consumption per unit of effective labor in the long run. As a by-product, we estimate the steady-state ratio of net external debt to GDP that is associated with this optimal outcome. The framework is an extension of the standard neoclassical growth model that incorporates endogenous technical change and global capital markets. The major policy implications are that in the long run, fiscal adjustment and the promotion of private saving are critical; reliance on foreign saving in a globalized financial world has limits; and when risk spreads are highly and positively correlated with rising external debt levels, unabated foreign borrowing depresses long run welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto S. Mariano & Delano Villanueva, 2005. "External Debt, Adjustment, and Growth," Working Papers 13-2006, Singapore Management University, School of Economics, revised May 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:13-2006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Siti Nurazira Mohd Daud & Jan M. Podivinsky, 2012. "Revisiting the role of external debt in economic growth of developing countries," Journal of Business Economics and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 968-993, June.
    2. Siti Daud & Jan Podivinsky, 2011. "Debt–Growth Nexus: A Spatial Econometrics Approach for Developing Countries," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 18(1), pages 1-15, September.
    3. Stylianou Tasos, 2012. "Does Government Debt Promote Economic Growth? An Empirical Analysis with Structural Breaks for the Economy of China," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 15(45), pages 229-248, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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