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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: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer 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. Martin D. D. Evans (Georgetown University) and Viktoria Hnatkovska (Georgetown University), 2005. "International Capital Flows, Returns and World Financial Integration," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-17, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0606, CEPREMAP.
  3. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 785, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. 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.
  5. Tille, Cédric & van Wincoop, Eric, 2008. "International Capital Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 6705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Coeurdacier, Nicolas & Kollmann, Robert Miguel W. K. & Martin, Philippe J., 2008. "International portfolios, capital accumulation and foreign assets dynamics," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,19, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  7. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2005. "A Global Perspective on External Positions," NBER Working Papers 11589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Devereux, Michael B. & Sutherland, Alan, 2010. "Country portfolio dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1325-1342, July.
  10. Habib, Maurizio Michael, 2010. "Excess returns on net foreign assets: the exorbitant privilege from a global perspective," Working Paper Series 1158, European Central Bank.
  11. Meissner, Christopher M & Taylor, Alan M, 2006. "Losing our Marbles in the New Century? The Great Rebalancing in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5917, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  13. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1994. "The Intertemporal Approach to the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 4893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nicolas E. Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality - A Portfolio Balance Approach," NBER Working Papers 16805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. repec:tcd:wpaper:tep16 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Carol C. Bertaut & Ralph W. Tryon, 2007. "Monthly estimates of U.S. cross-border securities positions," International Finance Discussion Papers 910, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Matthew Higgins & Thomas Klitgaard & Cedric Tille, 2005. "The income implications of rising U.S. international liabilities," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Dec).
  18. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," NBER Working Papers 13768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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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