Cover EconPol Working Paper 57

The Role of Fiscal Policies for External Imbalances: Evidence from the European Union

António Afonso and José Carlos Coelho (EconPol Europe, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE)

This research from António Afonso and José Carlos Coelho studies the existence of a causal relationship between the general government balance and the current account balance (assessed as a percentage of GDP) for 28 European Union countries, using annual data for 1996 to 2019. They find that an increase in budget deficit of 1 pp of GDP results in a deterioration of the current account deficit of 0.318 pp of GDP, which supports the Twin Deficits Hypothesis.

Abstract

We revisit the relation between budget deficits and current account deficits for 28 European Union countries from 1996 to 2019. We find that an increase in budget deficit of 1 pp of GDP results in a deterioration of the current account deficit of 0.318 pp of GDP, which supports the Twin Deficits Hypothesis. On the other hand, dynamic panel estimates partially corroborate the Equivalence Ricardian Hypothesis in the presence of a fiscal rules index. In addition: i) the relation between the two deficits is asymmetric and the negative impact of the recent Eurozone banking and sovereign debt crisis on the current account balance is observed; ii) after 2010, the budget balance positively affects the current account balance; and iii) the positive impact of the budget balance on the current account balance is higher in the cases of non-Eurozone countries, high budget deficit countries, and low exports countries, whereas it is lower in the cases of Eurozone countries, low budget deficit countries, and high exports countries.

Citation

António Afonso and José Carlos Coelho: "The Role of Fiscal Policies for External Imbalances: Evidence from the European Union", EconPol Working Paper 57, February 2021