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International Capital Flows and Debt Dynamics

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Abstract

This paper presents a new model for studying international capital flows and debt dynamics. The model emphasizes the role of expectations concerning future trade flows and returns as the determinants of a country’s foreign asset and liability positions, and how revisions in these expectations drive gross and net capital flows. I use the model to estimate the drivers of the U.S. external position and capital flows between 1973 and 2008. The estimates show that most of the secular rise in U.S. international indebtedness is attributable to growing optimism about future returns on U.S. holdings of foreign equity and FDI assets. Expectations concerning future returns are also the most important determinant of net capital flows, but the flows themselves are not important drivers of the U.S. external position. My estimates also show that the transformation of world savings into risky assets by the U.S. had little effect on its external position, but the expected real depreciation of the dollar allowed the U.S. to sustain a much higher level of international debt after the 1990s.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~12-12-04.

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Date of creation: 04 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~12-12-04

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Keywords: Capital Flows; External Imbalances; International Debt; International Solvency; Exorbitant Privilege JEL Codes: F31; F32; F34;

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  1. Nicolas Coeurdacier & Robert Kollmann & Philippe Martin, 2010. "International portfolios, capital accumulation and foreign assets dynamics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
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  14. Nicolas E. Magud E. & Carmen M. & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Working Paper Series, Peterson Institute for International Economics WP11-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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  16. repec:tcd:wpaper:tep16 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Hnatkovska, Viktoria, 2010. "Home bias and high turnover: Dynamic portfolio choice with incomplete markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 113-128, January.
  18. Habib, Maurizio Michael, 2010. "Excess returns on net foreign assets: the exorbitant privilege from a global perspective," Working Paper Series 1158, European Central Bank.
  19. Christopher A. Gohrband & Kristy L. Howell, 2013. "U.S. International Financial Flows and the U.S. Net Investment Position: New Perspectives Arising from New International Standards," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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