(5.6.1) Crowther’s Balances and Imbalances of Payments: METI Paper

The former chief editor of “The Economist” Geoffrey Crowther published a great work on the development of balance of payments and current accounts over the long-term. It divides development into six phases, which are analogous to Shakespeare’s seven phases of life.
The seven stages are:

  1. Young debtor nation,
  2. Mature debtor nation,
  3. Debt repayment nation,
  4. Young creditor nation,
  5. Mature creditor nation,
  6. Credit disposition /Asset Liquidation nation
  7. and the back to start stage

Read our discussion and explanations on Crowther’s Balances and Imbalances of Payment. This second page cites the full text on this topic from the METI, the Japanese Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry.

METI Paper

The METI paper contains more details in the view point of 2002. Many things changed, e.g. the young creditor nation France of 2001 has arrived in stage 7 and is returning to stage 1.

here the direct link to the paper




Bazbarich, M.J. (1978). “Optimal Growth and Stages in the Balance of Payments” Journal of International Economics 8.
Crowther, G. (1957). Balances and Imbalances of Payments Cambridge, MA Harvard, University Press.

Fischer, S. and J. Frenkel (1974): “Economic Growth and the Stages of the Balance of Payments”. In G. Horwich and P.A. Samuelson (eds.) Trade, Stability and Macroeconomics, New York Academic Press.

Halevi, N. (1971). “An Empirical Test of the Balance of Payments Stages Hypothesis” Journal of International Economics1.
MacDonald R., J. L. Stein, (1999), Equilibrium Exchange Rates , Kluwer Academic Publishers, London.
METI, Japanese Ministry of Economics, Trade and Infrastructure  fiscal 2002 White Paper on International Economy and Trade, Section 3 Japanese economic development and the future balance of payments Online Link
Nomura Research Institute (1989). “Medium- Term Economic Outlook: Sustained Dynamism in the Asia Pacific Economies (Part II),” Nomura Asia Focus (August)
Razgallah, Brahim, “The Balance of Payments Stages ‘Hypothesis’: A Reappraisal,” Website of l’université
d’Orléans, 2004, Online Link

Yu Yongding, “China’s Flawed Balance-of-Payments Position”, In Project Syndicate, May 31, 2013, Online Link



Geoffrey Crowther
Geoffrey Crowther, Baron Crowther (13 May 1907 – 5 February 1972) was a British economist, journalist, educationalist and businessman. He joined The Economist in 1932 and served as Editor from 1938 until 1956. In 1971, he authored the Report of the Committee on Consumer Credit, the "Crowther Report", whose recommendations led to the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
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