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The balance of payments constrained growth rate and the natural rate of growth: new empirical evidence

Lanzafame, Matteo (2011): The balance of payments constrained growth rate and the natural rate of growth: new empirical evidence.

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Abstract

This paper implements a panel approach to investigate the empirical relevance of ‘Thirlwall’s Law’, which states that long-run growth must be consistent with balance of payments (BOP) equilibrium and is, thus, determined on the demand side. Building on ARDL modelling, mean-group and pooled mean-group estimation methods, we use annual data over the 1960-2010 years for a panel of 22 OECD countries and find significant support for the ‘Law’. Next, we also explore empirically the hypothesis that the BOP-constrained growth rate (yb) must equal the natural (or potential) rate of growth (yn) and find that the data do not reject this hypothesis. Finally, we adopt a new approach, based on panel Granger-causality methods, to explore the direction of causality between yb and yn. The results indicate the existence of unidirectional long-run causality from yb to yn , thus reinforcing the view, embodied in the ‘Law’, that long-run growth is demand-determined and constrained by the BOP.

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