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The End of Large Current Account Deficits, 1970-2002: Are There Lessons for the United States?

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  • Sebastian Edwards

Abstract

The future of the U.S. current account -- and thus of the U.S. dollar -- depend on whether foreign investors will continue to add U.S. assets to their investment portfolios. However, even under optimistic scenarios, the U.S. current account deficit is likely to go through a significant reversal at some point in time. This adjustment may be as large of 4% to 5% of GDP. In order to have an idea of the possible consequences of this type of adjustment, I have analyzed the international evidence on current account reversals using both non-parametric techniques as well as panel regressions. The results from this empirical investigation indicate that major current account reversals have tended to result in large declines in GDP growth. I also analyze the large U.S. current account adjustment of 1987-1991.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11669.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Publication status: published as Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "The end of large current account deficits : 1970-2002 : are there lessons for the United States?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 205-268.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11669

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  1. Hilary Croke & Steven B. Kamin & Sylvain Leduc, 2005. "Financial market developments and economic activity during current account adjustments in industrial economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 827, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  17. Caroline Freund & Frank Warnock, 2007. "Current Account Deficits in Industrial Countries: The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall?," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 133-168 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2004. "The Unsustainable US Current Account Position Revisited," NBER Working Papers 10869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Barry Eichengreen & Muge Adalet, 2005. "Current Account Reversals: Always a Problem?," NBER Working Papers 11634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi & Filipa Sa, 2005. "The U.S. Current Account and the Dollar," NBER Working Papers 11137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? And If Not, How Costly is Adjustment Likely To Be?," NBER Working Papers 11541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Filardo, 2009. "Short-Term Policy Responses to the International Financial Crisis and Risks to Sustainable Medium-Term Policy Frameworks in Asia : Complications Arising from Enduring Global Imbalances," EABER Working Papers 22862, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Kristin J. Forbes & Francis E. Warnock, 2011. "Capital Flow Waves: Surges, Stops, Flight, and Retrenchment," NBER Working Papers 17351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Campa, Jose M. & Gavilán, Angel, 2006. "Current accounts in the euro area: An intertemporal approach," IESE Research Papers D/651, IESE Business School.
  4. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 2008. "Capital Flow Bonanzas: An Encompassing View of the Past and Present," CEPR Discussion Papers 6996, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Roberto Álvarez, 2007. "Export Transitions," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 418, Central Bank of Chile.
  6. Jean-Pierre Andre, 2011. "Economic Imbalances: New Zealand's Structural Challenge," Treasury Working Paper Series 11/03, New Zealand Treasury.
  7. William D. Craighead & David R. Hineline, 2013. "As the Current Account Turns: Disaggregating the Effects of Current Account Reversals in Industrial Countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(12), pages 1516-1541, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Campa, Jose Manuel & Gavilan, Angel, 2011. "Current accounts in the euro area: An intertemporal approach," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 205-228, February.
  10. Patrick A. Imam, 2008. "Rapid Current Account Adjustments," IMF Working Papers 08/233, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Sebastian Edwards, 2006. "External Imbalances in an Advanced, Commodity-Exporting Country: The Case of New Zealand," NBER Working Papers 12620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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