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Franklin Serrano and Fabio Freitas

This paper aims to show that the Sraffian supermultiplier model provides an alternative closure for the heterodox analysis of economic growth. The new closure follows from the assumption of the existence of autonomous non-capacity-creating expenditures, which implies that the ratio of the average to the marginal propensity to save is an endogenous variable whose determination allows the marginal propensity to invest to determine the saving ratio without the need for changes in income distribution. Provided it is also assumed that capitalist competition leads to gradual changes in the marginal propensity to invest in order to adjust productive capacity to demand, the new closure (in contrast to the Cambridge and neo-Kaleckian closures) allows us to reconcile demand-led growth, exogenous distribution, and a tendency towards normal capacity utilization.

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Ricardo Summa and Fabio Freitas

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Fabio Freitas and Rodrigo Christianes

The article presents a basic Sraffian supermultiplier model for the analysis of fiscal policy and government debt. First, we discuss the assumptions and the equilibrium and stability properties of the model. Next, we investigate the effects on the main endogenous variables of the model (including the primary government deficit and debt ratios) of changes in the rate of growth and composition of autonomous demand, in the tax rates on profits and wages, and in the rate of interest. The analysis of the impacts of changes in the interest rate is conducted according to two possible closures for the Classical/Sraffian theory of income distribution. In the first closure the changes in the rate of interest do not affect income distribution between wages and profits, which implies that its influence over the endogenous variables operates only through the financial component of total government deficit. The second closure is the monetary theory of distribution, according to which there is an inverse relationship between the rate of interest and the wage share. In this case, besides the pure financial effect, we show that the change in the rate of interest affects the economy through the equilibrium value of the supermultiplier and the tax burden.

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Gustavo Bhering, Franklin Serrano and Fabio Freitas

Thirlwall’s law, given by the ratio of the rate of growth of exports to the income elasticity of imports is a key result of balance-of-payments-constrained long-run growth models with balanced trade. Some authors have extended the analysis to incorporate long-run net capital flows. We provide a critical evaluation of these efforts and propose an alternative approach to deal with long-run external debt sustainability, based on two key features. First, we treat the external debt-to-exports ratio as the relevant indicator for the analysis of external debt sustainability. Second, we include an external credit constraint in the form of a maximum acceptable level of this ratio. The main results that emerge are that sustainable long-run capital flows can positively affect the long-run level of output, but not the rate of growth compatible with the balance-of-payments constraint, as exports must ultimately tend to grow at the same rate as imports. Therefore, Thirlwall’s law still holds.

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Fabio Freitas, David Kupfer and Esther Dweck

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Gustavo Bhering, Franklin Serrano and Fabio Freitas

Thirlwall's law, given by the ratio of the rate of growth of exports to the income elasticity of imports is a key result of balance-of-payments-constrained long-run growth models with balanced trade. Some authors have extended the analysis to incorporate long-run net capital flows. We provide a critical evaluation of these efforts and propose an alternative approach to deal with long-run external debt sustainability, based on two key features. First, we treat the external debt-to-exports ratio as the relevant indicator for the analysis of external debt sustainability. Second, we include an external credit constraint in the form of a maximum acceptable level of this ratio. The main results that emerge are that sustainable long-run capital flows can positively affect the long-run level of output, but not the rate of growth compatible with the balance-of-payments constraint, as exports must ultimately tend to grow at the same rate as imports. Therefore, Thirlwall's law still holds.