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On returns differentials

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  • Stephanie E. Curcuru
  • Charles P. Thomas
  • Francis E. Warnock
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    Abstract

    Estimates of U.S. returns differentials have ranged from exorbitant to quite small, in part because of their volatility coupled with the relatively short time series available. We shed light on underlying drivers of returns differentials by presenting a number of decompositions: a by-asset-class decomposition into yields and capital gains, the Gourinchas and Rey (2007a) composition and return effects, and further decompositions of capital gains that focus on exchange rate effects. While each decomposition informs thinking about returns differentials, one constant is evident throughout: to date the existing differential favoring the U.S. has owed primarily to one factor, a differential in direct investment yields. We discuss how our analysis informs the income puzzle (of positive net income flows to the U.S. even as its net international investment position is negative and substantial) and the position puzzle (of a sizeable gap between the reported U.S. net international position and cumulated current account deficits), provide an initial assessment of the literature on the dynamics of returns differentials, and present a framework to guide a forward-looking view of how returns differentials might evolve in the future.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 1077.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1077

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    Cited by:
    1. Vermeulen, Robert & de Haan, Jakob, 2014. "Net foreign asset (com)position: Does financial development matter?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 88-106.
    2. Guonan Ma & Robert N McCauley, 2013. "Global and euro imbalances: China and Germany," BIS Working Papers 424, Bank for International Settlements.
    3. Canzoneri, Matthew & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad & López-Salido, David, 2013. "Key currency status: An exorbitant privilege and an extraordinary risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 371-393.
    4. Benjamin Bridgman, 2009. "Do Intangible Assets Explain High U.S. Foreign Direct Investment Returns?," 2009 Meeting Papers 373, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Kenneth S. ROGOFF & TASHIRO Takeshi, 2014. "Japan's Exorbitant Privilege," Discussion papers 14047, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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