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Investigación económica

versión impresa ISSN 0185-1667


HERRERA REVUELTA, Julio  y  SANTAMARIA FIDALGO, Jesús. The Role of Foreign Debt in the Economic Growth of Developing Countries: the Inevitability of External Debt. Inv. Econ [online]. 2003, vol.62, n.244, pp.93-118. ISSN 0185-1667.

This paper proposes an alternative hypothesis in the analysis of the role played by external debt in the growth of under-developed countries. Even though a broad consensus exists regarding the immediate causes of the external debt crisis suffered by poorer countries (under-developed or developing) since 1982, this article suggests a reading of said crisis in a long-term context, in other words in the context of growth. This study has encountered a significant anomaly regarding the role international commerce plays in countries with very different levels of development. Whilst in under-developed countries, greater growth rates are achieved through commercial deficit, growth in the rich countries varies according to the equilibrium of the trade balance.

The empirical model used in this study incorporates the theoretical reflections of Harrod, Kalecki, and Thirwall, but utilizing different quantitative methodologies. First, an estimation was made of a dynamic disequilibrium model in two versions -adjustment via prices, and adjustment via profits. Then co-integration techniques were used to obtain the export and import functions, and to calculate the growth rate compatible with the external equilibrium, utilizing the parameters estimated in said equations. Finally, panel data were used to study whether foreign trade makes a different impact on growth in rich and poor countries.

The results of the contrast seem to confirm that the more advanced poorer countries have only managed to attain rates of economic growth by incurring external debt.

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