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Grupo de Estudos Monetários e Financeiros

Estudo do GEMF n.º 04/2016


Are the transition economies balance-of-payments constrained? An aggregate and multi-sector approach applied to Central and Eastern Europe.

Peter Leško
Faculty of National Economy, University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia
Elias Soukiazis
Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra, Portugal
Eva Muchova
Faculty of National Economy, University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia


The balance of payments can act as a constraint on the output growth rate, since it puts a limit on the growth of demand. This paper focuses on verifying whether the Balance-of-Payments-constrained growth hypothesis is suitable for explaining the growth performance in several transition economies of the Central and Eastern Europe that joined the European Union in 2004. According to Thirlwall´s Law, we determine the balance of payments equilibrium growth rate of an economy by the ratio of the income elasticities of the demand for exports and imports and the growth of foreign demand. The obtained results are compared with the multi-sector version of Thirlwall´s Law as an alternative approach that considers the structure of the economy and how specific specialization affects the Balance-of-Payments-constrained growth. Our results show that almost all transition countries in the sample grew and a higher rate that the one consistent with the Balance-of-Payments equilibrium  and that the multi-sector version of this approach makes a suitable prediction of the actual growth in these countries.

Keywords: Balance-of-Payments-constrained growth, aggregate and multi-sector Thirlwall´s Law, Structural change.

JEL classification: C13, E12, F41, F43

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