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How well the balance-of- payments constraint approach explains the Portuguese growth performance. Empirical evidence for the 1965-2008 period


  • Micaela Antunes


  • Elias Soukiazis


The present study aims to verify whether the balance-of-payments constrained growth approach is suitable for explaining the Portuguese growth performance during the last decades. For that, we adopt "Thirlwall's Law" that predicts actual growth by the ratio of the exports growth relative to the income-elasticity of the demand for imports. The income-elasticity of imports, essential for the entire analysis, is obtained from the estimation of the imports function by 2SLS, assuming that domestic growth is endogenous. To smooth cyclical variations, 15-year overlapping periods are considered in the computation of "Thirlwall's Law", assuming that income-elasticity with respect to imports is either constant or variable over time. It is found that the Law is a good instrument for predicting actual growth in Portugal and this result is reinforced by performing the McCombie test. Our results reveal that Portugal grew slightly higher relatively to the OECD countries in the entire period and this is consistent with the income-elasticity of the demand for exports exceeding that of imports, as "Thirlwall's Law" implies. Portugal also grew slightly faster than the rate consistent with the balance-of-payments equilibrium, accumulating external deficits over time. Dividing the sample in the pre and post-adhesion period to the EU, it is shown that Portugal grew at a lower rate in the latter, and this is consistent with lower export growth and higher income-elasticity with respect to imports. To overcome this problem, policies are needed to improve the supply characteristics of exports related to non-price competitiveness and reduce the imports sensitivity with respect to domestic income changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Micaela Antunes & Elias Soukiazis, 2011. "How well the balance-of- payments constraint approach explains the Portuguese growth performance. Empirical evidence for the 1965-2008 period," ERSA conference papers ersa10p125, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p125

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Elias Soukiazis & Micaela Antunes, 2013. "Growth Performance in Portugal since the 1960s: A Simultaneous Equation Approach with Cumulative Causation Characteristics," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 169-192.
    2. Elias Soukiazis & Pedro Cerqueira & Micaela Antunes, 2011. "Growth rates constrained by internal and external imbalances: a demand orientated approach," GEMF Working Papers 2011-12, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    3. Garcimartin, Carlos & Kvedaras, Virmantas & Rivas, Luis, 2016. "Business cycles in a balance-of-payments constrained growth framework," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 120-132.
    4. Elias Soukiazis & Micaela Antunes & Ioannis Kostakis, 2016. "The Greek economy under the twin-deficit pressure: a demand orientated growth approach," GEMF Working Papers 2016-08, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    5. Soukiazis, Elias & Cerqueira, Pedro A. & Antunes, Micaela, 2012. "Modelling economic growth with internal and external imbalances: Empirical evidence from Portugal," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 478-486.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy


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