Taiwan's External Imbalance and Structural Adjustment: A General Equilibrium Analysis

Yung‐Peng ‐P Chu

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Taiwan's trade surplus reached about one‐fifth of GNP by 1986, becoming the source of attention and criticism from the international community. Realizing it is to her own benefit to reduce the surplus, and also in order to ease outside pressure, Taiwan started to take measures of macroeconomic adjustments, including currency appreciation and expansionary fiscal policies. Trade surplus was reduced to 8.1% of GNP by 1989, as a result of increases in domestic demand accompanied by decreases in demand from abroad. At the same time the sectoral structure of Taiwan's economy changed: the share of non‐tradable sectors (mainly construction and services) expanded while that of the tradable ones (agriculture and manufacturing) shrank. This paper uses a 27‐sector computable general equilibrium model to investigate the comparative statics of changes in Taiwan's fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policies in 1989. Results of the model's counter factual policy simulations indicate expansionary fiscal and monetary policies are effective in reducing the external imbalance. In particular if public investment and money supply were raised by respectively 20% and 10% above the actual values, current account surplus as a percentage of GNP could be reduced from 8.52% to 6.91% in that year, and resources shifts from the tradable to the non‐tradable sectors would be strengthened. They also indicate that to achieve a given target of reduction in external imbalance, there are trade‐offs between expansionary fiscal policies and currency appreciation and between expansionary monetary policies and currency appreciation. For instance to reduce the current account surplus ratio to 5.04 of GNP, a 15% (10%) increase in public investment (money supply) would have to be accompanied by a 31% (29%) appreciation of the nominal effective exchange rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-113
Number of pages29
JournalAsian Economic Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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