Fiscal Policy and the External Deficit: Siblings, but not Twins
John F. Helliwell
This paper first surveys a number of partial and macroeconomic
approaches to the determination of the current account, and then summarizes the
evidence from multicountry economic models about the linkages between U.S.
government spending and the U.S. current account during the 1 980s. The
available evidence from a large number of multicountry models suggests that the
U.S. fiscal policy of the first half of the 1980s was responsible for about half of the
buildup in the external deficit, and that the accumulated net foreign debt is about
500 billion dollars higher than it would have been without the fiscal expansion.
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