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Using fiscal policy to address trade imbalances

If a nation is experiencing the inflow of foreign investment capital associated with a trade deficit because foreign investors are making long-term direct investments in firms, there may be no substantial reason for concern. After all, many low-income nations around the world would welcome direct investment by multinational firms that ties them more closely into the global networks of production and distribution of goods and services. In this case, the inflows of foreign investment capital and the trade deficit are attracted by the opportunities for a good rate of return on private sector investment in an economy.

However, governments should beware of a sustained pattern of high budget deficits and high trade deficits. The danger arises in particular when the inflow of foreign investment capital is not funding long-term physical capital investment by firms, but instead is short-term portfolio investment in government bonds. When inflows of foreign financial investment reach high levels, foreign financial investors will be on the alert for any reason to fear that the country’s exchange rate may decline or the government may be unable to repay what it has borrowed on time. Just as a few falling rocks can trigger an avalanche; a relatively small piece of bad news about an economy can trigger an enormous outflow of short-term financial capital.

Reducing a nation’s budget deficit will not always be a successful method of reducing its trade deficit, because other elements of the national saving and investment identity, like private saving or investment, may change instead. In those cases when the budget deficit is the main cause of the trade deficit, governments should take steps to reduce their budget deficits, lest they make their economy vulnerable to a rapid outflow of international financial capital that could bring a deep recession.

Financing higher education

Over the period between 1982 and 2012, the increases in the cost of a college education had far outpaced that of the income of the typical American family. According to the research done by the President Obama’s staff, the cost of education at a four-year public college increased by 257% compared to an increase in family incomes of only 16% over the prior 30 years. The ongoing debate over a balanced budget and proposed cutbacks accentuated the need to increase investment in human capital to grow the economy versus deepening the already significant debt levels of the U.S. government. In the summer of 2013, President Obama presented a plan to make college more affordable that included increasing Pell Grant awards and the number of recipients, caps on interest rates for student loans, and providing education tax credits. In addition, the plan includes an accountability method for institutions of higher education that focuses on completion rates and creates a College Scorecard. Whether or not all these initiatives come to fruition remains to be seen, but they are indicative of creative approaches that government can take to meet its obligation from both a public and fiscal policy perspective.

Key concepts and summary

The government need not balance its budget every year. However, a sustained pattern of large budget deficits over time risks causing several negative macroeconomic outcomes: a shift to the right in aggregate demand that causes an inflationary increase in the price level; crowding out private investment in physical capital in a way that slows down economic growth; and creating a dependence on inflows of international portfolio investment which can sometimes turn into outflows of foreign financial investment that can be injurious to a macroeconomy.

Problems

Sketch a diagram of how a budget deficit causes a trade deficit. ( Hint : Begin with what will happen to the exchange rate when foreigners demand more U.S. government debt.)

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Sketch a diagram of how sustained budget deficits cause low economic growth.

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Assume that you are employed by the government of Tanzania in 1964, a new nation recently independent from Britain. The Tanzanian parliament has decided that it will spend 10 million shillings on schools, roads, and healthcare for the year. You estimate that the net taxes for the year are eight million shillings. The difference will be financed by selling 10-year government bonds at 12% interest per year. The interest on outstanding bonds must be added to government expenditure each year. Assume that additional taxes are added to finance this increase in government expenditure so the gap between government spending is always two million. If the school, road, and healthcare budget are unchanged, compute the value of the accumulated debt in 10 years.

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References

The White House. “This is why it's time to make college more affordable.” Last modified August 20, 2013. http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/college-affordability.

Rubin, Robert E., Peter R. Orszag, and Allen Sinai. “Sustained Budget Deficits: Longer-Run U.S. Economic Performance and the Risk of Financial and Fiscal Disarray.” Last modified January 4, 2004. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2004/1/05budgetdeficit%20orszag/20040105.pdf.

Questions & Answers

What is unemployment
Mijash Reply
Unemployment is a term used to describe people who do not hold a paying job
JASON
what are the causes of unemployment
evans
unemployment refer to the situation in which people searching job but they have no. it also refers in which marginal productivity in zero.
Ramu
Causes of unemployment are: 1: Over Population 2: Break down of the family system 3: Rural/Urban Migration
Umar
suppose you're the economist of ethiopia; when the country is face high rate of inflation what you recommend as one economist?
Roba Reply
if consumer spend all their incomes on consumption what does it mean?
Roba
if the government spends more of its revenue on development infrastructure from the budget it have and lower tax collection the budget deficit will run why?
Roba
because tax is less than revenue
Bhat
what is demand
Sunday Reply
Demand is the quantity of goods and services that consumers are willing and able to purchase at various prices over a given period of time
adu
the total value of goods and services produced by a coutry in it's own territorial area( mainly in a year) is called GDP
fareeha Reply
GDP- the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year.
fareeha
What is the formula for propensity to save
Zubair
there is no formula for propensity to save but it has a two types one is average propensity to save and marginal propensity to save where Apc is equal to saving divide by income and mpc is equal to change in saving due change in income
Bhat
yes ooo
Sunday
yes
Ahmed
okay
kawu
what is time in economics?
Sunday
what is gross domestic product
Moonga Reply
what is macroeconomics
Dickison Reply
what is macroeconomics
Majid Reply
what is macroeconomic analysis
Deogratius Reply
Macroeconomics is a branch of the economics that studies how the aggregate economy behaves. In macroeconomics, a variety of economy-wide phenomena is thoroughly examined such as inflation, price levels, rate of growth, national income, gross domestic product (GDP) and changes in unemployment Read m
wasay
Macroeconomics is a branch of the economics that studies how the aggregate economy behaves. In macroeconomics, a variety of economy-wide phenomena is thoroughly examined such as inflation, price levels, rate of growth, national income, gross domestic product (GDP) and changes in unemployment
wasay
what is wage in economics?
Sunday
what is economic
Wajeed Reply
Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. 
ninad
Economics is the brench of science that deals with the study of human behavior as it related to end or scare means which have alternative used.
Jimmy
what is inflation
Junaid Reply
Inflation is simply a situation in an economy where there is a persistent rise or increase in the prices of goods and services in a particular year(say current year)
JERRY
It can still be defined as a situation in an economy where there's a persistent fall in the value of money
JERRY
it is the persistent rise in the general price of goods and services in an economy leading to the fall in the values of money
Muafue
It could mean the central bank has a deficit in reserve unable to cope with low export and exit of foreign investments.
Wong
inflation is the general increase in a commodity with in a country.
Jimmy
Mr Fallah please take the definition again that one is not clear
Muafue
the persistence in general price of commodities
ezechy
The persistence rise in the general price level
Muafue
what is willingness
Bilal Reply
Is a person Able,Capable and Anxious to something
Muafue
Is when a person is able,capable and Anxious to do something
Muafue
thanks sir g.
Bilal
u are welcome
Muafue
where you from
Bilal
Cameroon
Muafue
And you
Muafue
Pakistan
Bilal
How far are you in Education
Muafue
who about my question What is MPC
sabawoon
is marginal propensity to consume
Muafue
a little more
sabawoon
sorry muafue sir you are little bit wrong about willingness *willingness reffers how much wants . it could be wants for payment or wants for something to do.
Masadaq
MPC reffers *How much want to consume*.
Masadaq
MPC is Marginal Propensity to Consume. MPC is proportion of additional spent on consumption.
Bon
MPC is Marginal Propensity to Consume. MPC is the proportion of additional income spent on consumption.
Bon
What is difference between GNP and GDP?
Zahid
GNP is gross national product. In calculating GNP we include net national income from abroad while GDP is gross domestic product and in calculating it we use on expenditure, income and output from within the country. My name is JERRY NGONDA from Cameron
JERRY
GNP.the total value of good $service currently produce w a given period of time by domestic owner GNP=NFI+GDP:GDP is a market value of final good $service currently produce in a given period of time w in a country boundery or territors.its take produce currently $etc
tade
yes.no suggestions
tade
good Tade Feyera
Masadaq
Tade Feyera can you send me your whatsap contact number.
Masadaq
when spending by the federal government exceeds net taxes?
stefany Reply
unemployed means people are not in the labor force, who have no job, are actively looking for job, they might be return to workforce.
tiffany Reply
the number of unemployed worker out of total number of people in workforce times 100
tiffany
Explain the necessity of studying macroeconomics.
mrinmoyee Reply
how is DDP calculated
sheikh Reply
the question is not understood
Muafue
whatis GDP
tade
what is demand?
Sunday

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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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