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Fear and Market Failure: Global Imbalances and 'Self-insurance'

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  • Miller, Marcus
  • Zhang, Lei

Abstract

Two key issues are examined in an integrated framework: the emergence of global imbalances and the precautionary motive for accumulating reserves. Standard models of general equilibrium would predict modest current account surpluses in the emerging markets if they face higher risk than the US itself. But, with pronounced Loss Aversion in Emerging Markets, their precautionary savings can generate substantial ‘global imbalances’, especially if there is an inefficient supply of global ‘insurance’. A combination of fear and market failure generates imbalances as a general equilibrium outcome. In principle, lower real interest rates will ensure aggregate demand equals supply at a global level: but disequilibrium may result if the required real interest rate is negative. A precautionary savings glut appears to us to be a temporary phenomenon, however, destined for correction as and when adequate reserve levels are achieved. If the process of correction is triggered by ‘Sudden Stop’ on capital flows to the US, might this not lead to 'hard landing' that is forecast by several leading macroeconomists? When precautionary saving is combined with financial panic, history offers no guarantee of full employment.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6000.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6000

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Keywords: liquidity trap; loss aversion; stochastic dynamic general equilibrium;

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Cited by:
  1. Bini Smaghi, Lorenzo, 2007. "Global imbalances and monetary policy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 711-727.
  2. Olivier Jeanne & Romain Rancière, 2011. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves For Emerging Market Countries: A New Formula and Some Applications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 905-930, 09.
  3. Hume, Michael & Sentance, Andrew, 2009. "The global credit boom: challenges for macroeconomics and policy," Discussion Papers 27, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  4. Kaltenbrunner, Annina & Nissanke, Machiko, 2009. "The Case for an Intermediate Exchange Rate Regime with Endogenizing Market Structures and Capital Mobility," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. Olivier Jeanne, 2007. "International Reserves in Emerging Market Countries: Too Much of a Good Thing?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 1-80.
  6. Chris Hunt, 2008. "Financial turmoil and global imbalances: the end of Bretton Woods II?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 71, September.

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