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The Budget Deficit and Economic Performance: A Survey



The relationship between budget deficits and macroeconomic variables (such as growth, interest rates, trade deficit, exchange rate, among others) represents one of the most widely debated topics among economists and policy makers in both developed and developing countries. However, the purpose of this paper is to examine the extensive literature to such a relationship, concentrating on theoretical debates, empirical studies, and econometric models in order to derive substantive conclusions, which can be beneficial in terms of macroeconomics area or in terms of constructing or developing a macroeconomic model for analysing the impact of budget deficits on macroeconomic variables. The majority of these studies regress a macroeconomic variable on the deficit variable. These studies are cross-country and utilise time series data. In general the key outcomes from the studies presented in this paper indicated that both the method of financing and the components of government expenditures could have different effects. Therefore, it is crucial to distinguish between current and capital expenditure when evaluating the impact of fiscal policy on private investment and output growth. Even though, the overall results from the empirical literature with respect to the impact of public investment on private investment and growth are ambiguous, the bulk of the empirical studies finds a significantly negative effect of public consumption expenditure on growth, while the effects of public investment expenditure are found to be positive although less robust. The key outcome from all of the studies presented in this paper which investigating the relationship between the budget deficit and current account deficit showed strong evidence in both developed and developing countries towards supporting the Keynesian proposition (conventional view) which suggests that an increase in the budget deficit would induce domestic absorption and, hence import expansion, causing a current account deficit. Furthermore, it can also be concluded from the empirical findings that the effects of budget deficits on exchange rates depends on the way of funding the deficits, whether through taxation or through money growth. The key findings from the empirical studies investigating the relationship between the budget deficit and interest rates indicated strong evidence towards supporting the Keynesian model of a significant and positive relationship between budget deficits and interest rates. The major outcomes from the empirical studies examining the relationship between budget deficits and inflation showed strong evidence that the budget deficit financed through monetisation and a rising money supply could lead to inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Saleh, Ali Salman, 2003. "The Budget Deficit and Economic Performance: A Survey," Economics Working Papers wp03-12, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp03-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    2. Metin, Kivilcim, 1995. "An Integrated Analysis of Turkish Inflation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(4), pages 513-531, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ziesemer, Thomas, 2005. "How to cure the trade balance? Reducing budget deficits versus devaluations in the presence of J- and W-curves for Brazil," Research Memorandum 018, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Spector, Lee C, 1999. "Macroeconomic Models and the Determination of Crowding Out," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 54(1-2), pages 84-98.
    3. Piotr MISZTAL, 2010. "Public Debt And Economic Growth In The European Union," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 5(3(13)/Fal), pages 292-302.
    4. Nkalu, Chigozie Nelson, 2015. "The effects of budget deficits on selected macroeconomic variables in Nigeria and Ghana (1970 - 2013)," Asian Journal of Empirical Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(10), pages 167-180, October.
    5. Harvie, Charles & Saleh, Ali Salman, 2007. "Lebanon’s Fiscal Crisis and Economic Reconstruction after War: the case of a bridge too far?," Economics Working Papers wp07-04, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    6. Harvie, Charles & Saleh, Ali Salman, 2008. "Lebanon's economic reconstruction after the war: A bridge too far?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 857-872.
    7. Heinz Handler, 2016. "Two centuries of currency policy in Austria," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 61-76.

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    budget deficits; economic performance; macroeconomic variables; current account deficit;

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