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(Why) Should Current Account Balances Be Reduced?

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  • Olivier Blanchard
  • Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti

Abstract

The purpose of this note is to discuss two complex issues. First, why might a country want to reduce its current account deficit or surplus? And second, why might the international community ask for more? We argue that, in many cases, current account balances reflect underlying domestic distortions. It is then in the interest of the country to remove those distortions and, in the process, reduce imbalances. We then discuss cases where spillover effects, either from deficits or surpluses, suggest a direct role for multilateral surveillance. This process can play two potentially useful roles: first, as a discussion of the differences in assessments; second, as a potentially useful commitment device for countries to implement some of the required but politically unpalatable fiscal or structural adjustments.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal IMF Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 60 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 139-150

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Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:60:y:2012:i:1:p:139-150

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Cited by:
  1. Jamel Saadaoui, 2013. "Global Imbalances: Should We Use Fundamental Equilibrium Exchange Rates?," Post-Print halshs-00861163, HAL.
  2. Duwicquet, Vincent & Mazier, Jacques & Saadaoui, Jamel, 2012. "Désajustements de change, fédéralisme budgétaire et redistribution : comment s’ajuster en union monétaire
    [Exchange Rate Misalignments, Fiscal Federalism and Redistribution: How to Adjust in
    ," MPRA Paper 42858, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Bernhard Herz & Stefan Hohberger, 2013. "Fiscal Policy, Monetary Regimes and Current Account Dynamics," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 118-136, 02.
  4. Jamel Saadaoui, 2012. "Global Imbalances: Should We Use Fundamental Equilibrium Exchange Rates?," Working Papers halshs-00750551, HAL.
  5. Saadaoui, Jamel, 2012. "Déséquilibres globaux, taux de change d’équilibre et modélisation stock-flux cohérente
    [Global Imbalances, Equilibrium Exchange Rates and Stock-Flow Consistent Modelling]
    ," MPRA Paper 51332, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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