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Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? If Not, How Costly Is Adjustment Likely to Be?

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  • Sebastian Edwards

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

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    Abstract

    This paper analyzes the relationship between the U.S. dollar and the U.S. current account, dealing with issues of sustainability and the mechanics of current account adjustment. The analysis differs from other work in several respects. First, it emphasizes the dynamics of current account adjustment, going beyond computations of the real depreciation required to achieve sustainability. The analysis shows that, even if foreigners’ net demand for U.S. assets continues to increase significantly, the current account deficit is likely to fall steeply in the not too distant future. Second, the paper uses international evidence to explore the likelihood of an abrupt decline in capital flows into the United States. Third, it analyzes the international evidence on current account reversals, to investigate the potential consequences of a sudden stop of capital inflows. This analysis suggests that adjustment of the U.S. external accounts is likely to result in a significant reduction in growth.

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    File URL: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Programs/ES/BPEA/2005_1_bpea_papers/2005a_bpea_edwards.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 211-288

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    Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:36:y:2005:i:2005-1:p:211-288

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    Keywords: macroeconomics; U.S. Current Account Deficit; Sustainable; Adjustment;

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    Cited by:
    1. Turhan, Ibrahim M. & Arslan, Yavuz & Kılınç, Mustafa, 2011. "Global Imbalances, Current Account Rebalancing and Exchange Rate Adjustments," MPRA Paper 36475, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Rod Tyers & Iain Bain, 2008. "American And European Financial Shocks: Implications For Chinese Economic Performance," CAMA Working Papers 2008-08, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    3. Federici, Daniela & Gandolfo, Giancarlo, 2012. "The Euro/Dollar exchange rate: Chaotic or non-chaotic? A continuous time model with heterogeneous beliefs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 670-681.
    4. Issiaka Coulibaly & Blaise Gnimassoun, 2013. "Current account sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Does the exchange rate regime matter?," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-42, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
    5. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Martin, Philippe & Pesenti, Paolo, 2013. "Varieties and the transfer problem," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-12.
    6. Charles Engel & Akito Matsumoto, 2006. "Portfolio Choice in a Monetary Open-Economy DSGE Model," NBER Working Papers 12214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Alexander Klemm, 2013. "Growth Following Investment and Consumption-Driven Current Account Crises," IMF Working Papers 13/217, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Joseph Gruber & Steven Kamin, 2009. "Do Differences in Financial Development Explain the Global Pattern of Current Account Imbalances?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 667-688, 09.
    9. Theofilakou, Nancy & Stournaras, Yannis, 2012. "Current account adjustments in OECD countries revisited: The role of the fiscal stance," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 719-734.

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