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Sharecroppers or Shrewd Capitalists? Projections of the US Current Account, International Income Flows, and Net International Debt

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  • John Kitchen

Abstract

This paper presents a detailed framework and analysis to address whether the US is on track to becoming a society of "sharecroppers," paying a large and growing share of income to foreign owners of US assets, or rather is more likely to continue as a society of "shrewd capitalists" with the cost of servicing international debt remaining relatively low and manageable despite growing international debt. Various scenarios illustrate the reliability of the modeling framework and show how alternative future paths for key variables affect the outcomes. The relationships determining the international flows and relative debt levels-including relative rates of return, asset portfolio compositions, valuation effects, and the outlook for an improving US trade position-indicate that a manageable and sustainable outlook is more likely than often considered to be the case. Results also show, however, the extent to which the outlook is vulnerable to the loss of "exorbitant privilege." Copyright � 2007 The Author; Journal compilation � 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 1036-1061

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:15:y:2007:i:5:p:1036-1061

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Cited by:
  1. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas, 2014. "The Return on U.S. Direct Investment at Home and Abroad," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2008. "Where Did All The Borrowing Go? A Forensic Analysis of the U.S. External Position," CEPR Discussion Papers 6655, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alexander Klemm, 2013. "Growth Following Investment and Consumption-Driven Current Account Crises," IMF Working Papers 13/217, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Ricardo Hausmann and Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global imbalances or bad accounting? The missing dark matter in the wealth of nations," Business School Working Papers globalimbal, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  5. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas, 2012. "The return on U.S. direct investment at home and abroad," International Finance Discussion Papers 1057, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. John Kitchen & Menzie Chinn, 2011. "Financing US Debt: Is There Enough Money in the World – and at What Cost?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 373-413, December.
  7. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Current Account Sustainability and Relative Reliability," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2008, pages 67-109 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 2007. "Returns on FDI: Does the U.S. Really Do Better?," NBER Working Papers 13313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ziesemer, Thomas, 2009. "Growth with imported resources: On the sustainability of U.S. growth and foreign debt," MERIT Working Papers 028, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  10. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Current account sustainability and relative reliability," International Finance Discussion Papers 947, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Carol C. Bertaut & Steven B. Kamin & Charles P. Thomas, 2008. "How long can the unsustainable U.S. current account deficit be sustained?," International Finance Discussion Papers 935, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Current Account Sustainability and Relative Reliability," NBER Working Papers 14295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Should there be a coordinated response to the problem of global imbalances? Can there be one?," Working Papers 69, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  14. Phil Garton, 2007. "Asymmetric investment returns and the sustainability of US external imbalances," Treasury Working Papers 2007-01, Treasury, Australian Government, revised Feb 2007.
  15. Eichengreen, Barry, 2006. "Global imbalances: The new economy, the dark matter, the savvy investor, and the standard analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 645-652, September.

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