Academic journal article Journal of Economic and Social Studies

The Role of Twin Deficits Problem in Sustainable Growth: An Econometric Analysis for Turkey

Academic journal article Journal of Economic and Social Studies

The Role of Twin Deficits Problem in Sustainable Growth: An Econometric Analysis for Turkey

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


The twin deficits problem is referred to a situation where an economy is running both Current Account Deficit (CAD) and Budget Deficit (BD). According to Ricardian Equivalence CAD and BD are not correlated. Budget deficit is a result of tax cut which reduces public revenues and public saving (Alkswani, 2000). Decrease in public savings will be compensated by an increase in private saving. Therefore national saving will not be affected and the budget deficit will have no effect on the current trade deficit (Alkswani, 2000). On the other hand, according to Keynesian proposition the two deficits are linked and the direction is from BD to CAD. Because if there is a budget deficit, government has to borrow more and as a result the interest rates rise. The rise of interest rates leads inflow of money from abroad and then the local currency appreciates. The appreciation of currency results with increase in import and decrease in export. As a result, trade deficit increase and current account balance distorted.

The twin deficits have started to become a problem with the beginning of the 1980's in USA. Increase in military expenditures and decrease in income tax raised budget deficit. The increase in budget deficit caused increase in debt of US to the rest of the world and therefore caused distortion in balance of payments. After the global crisis in 2008, it is seen that not only in USA also in other developed and developing countries have the same macroeconomic problems. Especially in developed countries such as European countries faced with serious problems in their economies. Growth in developing economies such as China and India has become a danger for developed countries. Foreign trade worsened and caused decrease in balance of payments in western countries. Also high borrowing of governments deepened crisis in European countries.

In recent years, CAD has become the most discussed issue for Turkey's Economy. According to Peker (2009) macroeconomic policies such as inflation targeting generally cause appreciation of local currency and thus stimulate import. Turkey has lack of savings like other developing countries. Because of this, growth in economy depends on import oriented production and consumption. Although Turkish Economy performs high level of growth, the trade balance is worsening. In the last decade Turkish foreign trade has showed a large increase. Fiowever, increase in trade volume has become more than increase in export. Also increase of gas and oil prices in the world has increased Turkey's energy expenditure. Therefore trade balance and also current account balance worsened.

After the 1999 earthquake and 2001 crisis, fiscal policies tightened and to increase the revenues new tax policies have been implied. Especially new taxes such as Private Consumption Tax (PCT) on import oriented goods have been implied to help improving budget balance. Especially PCT revenues on petroleum products, almost totally import oriented, helped to finance the budget deficit. Tax burden is 20% in 2011 which was 13% in 1998. Also share of value-added taxes (VAT) from import in total value-added tax revenues raised to 17% which was 11% in 1999. The gap between domestic VAT and VAT from import is closed as of 2011.

The growth in economy and tightened fiscal policies reduced the vulnerability to crisis of Turkish economy. However, good performance of budget balance had no positive effect on balance of payments. Export-import ratio was under 70% except 2001 and 2009. After 2001 Trade deficit increased continuously and in period 1997- 2004 CAD/GDP ratio was 1,1% but in period 2005-2010 the ratio raised to 5,1%.

Graph 1 shows the relation of BD and CAD in the last 15 years.

As seen in the figure, especially after the 2001, Current Account Balance continuously worsens. However, in this period Turkish economy experienced high growth rates. With the global financial crises in 2009 CAD decreases sharply. …

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