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Does the twin deficit hypothesis hold in the OECD countries under different real interest rate regimes?

Mustafa Erhan Bilman and Sadık Karaoğlan

Journal of Policy Modeling, 2020, vol. 42, issue 1, 205-215

Abstract: This paper explores the validity of the twin deficit hypothesis in selected 25 OECD countries with annual data for 2005–2016 by considering different real interest rate regimes. A non-dynamic panel threshold model, introduced by Hansen (1999), is employed. The novelty of the empirical findings from the present study is that there exists a non-linear relationship between the budget deficit and the trade balance, which is driven by a critical threshold level in the real interest rates. The findings suggest that twin deficit hypothesis holds only under the low real interest rate regime, that is, rises in budget deficits lead to deteriorations in the trade balance when the real interest rate is below the threshold level. When the high real interest rate (i.e. above-the-threshold) regime is concerned, increasing budget deficits give rise to improvements in the trade balance, a finding consistent with the twin divergence hypothesis. Thus, the effect on the trade balance of an expansionary fiscal policy that worsens the budget balance reverses substantially depending on the threshold level of the real interest rates. The major policy implication of this paper is that the policy makers in the selected OECD countries should pay a greater attention to fiscal discipline in order to prevent the trade balance from worsening, because the majority of the countries fall into the low real interest rate regime over the recent years of the sample period (i.e. between 2010 and 2016).

Keywords: Twin deficits; Twin divergence; Panel threshold model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C33 E62 F32 H62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpolmod.2019.09.003

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