The dynamic linkages between current account deficit and budget balance deficit in the South Asian region

Publication Name

Journal of Asian Economics


The issue of twin imbalances is at the forefront of fiscal policy concerns in the South Asian region, fuelled by an ever-going budget deficit and current account deficit over the last five decades. A standard approach is to assume a model in which budget balance influences the current account. We relax this assumption by using a panel data vector autoregression model comprising five South Asian countries. The results show that both budget deficit and current account deficit are mutually causative, which contrasts the unidirectional causality running from fiscal deficit to current account deficit found in prior studies. Further, this bi-causality relationship is also demonstrated in the impulse response analyses. Budget balance in South Asian economies responds positively to a one standard deviation positive shock in the current account balance. Likewise, external balance increases to a one standard deviation positive shock in internal balance. Higher fiscal debt impedes economic growth, which in turn impacts negatively on the budget balance. Our findings lead us to reject 'fiscal policy only' recommendations to address the twin deficits.

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