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Government Spending and Surplus on Current Account

Discuss whether or not an increase in government spending will reduce a surplus on the current account of the country’s balance of payments.

Category:

Macroeconomic Factors and Policies

Frequently asked question

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Answer

Analyze and evaluate the data and evidence you have collected.


An increase in government spending can have complex effects on the surplus of the current account of a country's balance of payments. Let's examine the potential reasons why it might lead to a reduction in the current account surplus, as well as reasons why it might not:
Why it might reduce the current account surplus:
➡️1. Increased Imports: Higher government spending may involve the purchase of imported goods and services. For example, if the government invests in imported computers for its offices, it would contribute to an increase in imports. This would potentially reduce the current account surplus, as imports constitute a negative entry in the balance of payments.
➡️2. Increased Disposable Income: Government spending on state benefits or welfare programs can boost disposable income for recipients. Some portion of this additional income might be spent on imported goods and services, leading to an increase in imports and potentially reducing the current account surplus.
➡️3. Aggregate Demand and International Competitiveness: An increase in government spending can stimulate total (aggregate) demand within the economy. If this increase in demand is not matched by an increase in domestic production, it can lead to inflation. Inflation, in turn, can erode a country's international competitiveness, leading to reduced exports and increased imports, which would contribute to a reduction in the current account surplus.
Why it might not reduce the current account surplus:
➡️1. Improved Productivity and Domestic Demand: Government spending directed towards education, training, healthcare, and infrastructure can enhance labor productivity, reduce production costs, and improve the quality of domestically produced goods and services. These factors can increase the competitiveness of domestic products, stimulating exports and reducing reliance on imports. Consequently, this could help maintain or even increase the current account surplus.
➡️2. Infrastructure Development: Government spending on infrastructure projects, such as transportation networks, can lower transport costs and improve price competitiveness for domestic producers. This can lead to increased exports and reduced imports, supporting a current account surplus.
➡️3. Subsidies and Price Competitiveness: Government subsidies provided to domestic producers can lower the prices of domestically produced goods and services, making them more competitive in international markets. This can stimulate exports and reduce the reliance on imports, contributing to a current account surplus.
It's important to note that the impact of government spending on the current account surplus will depend on various factors, including the composition of government expenditure, the structure of the economy, the responsiveness of imports and exports to changes in demand, and the overall economic conditions. A comprehensive analysis requires a detailed understanding of the specific context and policies of the country in question.

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I. 🍃Introduction
A. Definition of government spending
B. Importance of government spending in the economy
C. Purpose of the essay

II. Reasons why higher government spending may lead to an increase in imports
A. Example of imported computers for government offices
B. Increase in disposable income due to state benefits
C. Increase in total demand leading to inflation
D. Reduction in international competitiveness
E. Increase in imports

III. Reasons why higher government spending may not lead to an increase in imports
A. Government spending on education and training
B. Government spending on healthcare
C. Government spending on infrastructure
D. Subsidies for domestic products

IV. Impact of government spending on exports
A. Increase in exports due to improved quality and productivity
B. Reduction in imports due to lower transport costs
C. Lowering the price of domestic products through subsidies

V. 👉Conclusion
A. Summary of the main points
B. Importance of government spending in promoting economic growth
C. Future implications and recommendations.

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Up to ➡️5 marks for why it might: Higher government spending may go on imports - e.g. imported computers for government offices -. Higher government spending on e.g. state benefits - will increase disposable income - some of this might be spent on imports -. Higher government spending will increase total (aggregate) demand - this may cause inflation - reduce international competitiveness - reduce exports - increase imports -.
Up to ➡️5 marks for why it might not: Government spending on education and training / healthcare - may raise labour productivity - reduce costs of production - improve quality - increased demand for domestically produced products - increase exports - reduce imports -. Government spending on infrastructure - may reduce transport costs - increasing price competitiveness - increasing exports - reducing imports -. The government may subsidise domestic products - lowering the price of domestic products - increasing exports - reducing imports -.

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