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Statistical Issues Related to Global Economic Imbalances: Perspectives on "Dark Matter"

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  • Ralph H. Kozlow

    (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Abstract

There has been a large amount of recent interest in how the U.S. can be the so-called world's largest debtor nation and at the same time have a persistent surplus on income in its balance of payments accounts. Based on BEA's published data, two factors explain the incongruence - a difference in the composition of U.S.-owned assets abroad compared to foreign-owned assets in the U.S., and a higher rate of return earned by U.S. investors on their overseas assets, particularly on direct investment, than the rate of return that foreign investors earn on similar classes of assets invested in the U.S. In contrast, some others have recently argued that the explanation for the incongruence is that U.S.-owned assets abroad are undervalued, mainly because large exports of intangible assets by U.S. direct investors to their foreign affiliates have gone undetected. This paper reviews the main points of this argument and discusses some of its implications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau of Economic Analysis in its series BEA Papers with number 0068.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:bea:papers:0068

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Cited by:
  1. Alexandra Heath, 2007. "What explains the US net income balance?," BIS Working Papers 223, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. 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.).
  3. Daniel R. Yorgason, 2007. "Treatment of International Research and Development as Investment: Issues and Estimates," BEA Papers 0080, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  4. 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.

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