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A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances

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  • Qingyuan Du
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Large savings and current account surpluses by China and other countries are said to be a contributor to the global current account imbalances and possibly to the recent global financial crisis. This paper proposes a theory of excess savings based on a major, albeit insufficiently recognized by macroeconomists, transformation in many of these societies, namely, a steady increase in the surplus of men relative to women. We construct an OLG model with two sexes and a desire to marry. We show conditions under which an intensified competition in the marriage market can induce men to raise their savings rate, and produce a rise in the aggregate savings and current account surplus. This effect is economically significant if the biological desire to have a partner of the opposite sex is strong. A calibration of the model suggests that this factor could generate economically significant current account responses, or more than 1/2 of the actual current account imbalances observed in the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16000.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16000

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Cited by:
  1. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Qian, Xing Wang, 2012. "Are Chinese Trade Flows Different?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 14/2012, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  2. Samuel Cudré & Mathias Hoffmann, 2014. "A provincial view of global imbalances: regional capital flows in China," ECON - Working Papers 162, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Alger, Ingela & Cox, Donald, 2012. "The Evolution of Altruistic Preferences: Mothers versus Fathers," LERNA Working Papers 12.30.387, LERNA, University of Toulouse, revised May 2013.
  4. Ito, Hiro & Volz, Ulrich, 2012. "The People’s Republic of China and Global Imbalances from a View of Sectorial Reforms," ADBI Working Papers 393, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  5. Philip Levy, 2011. "The United States and the PRC : Macroeconomic Imbalances and Economic Diplomacy," Governance Working Papers 23208, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  6. Ju, Jiandong & Shi , Kang & Wei , Shang-Jin, 2013. "Trade reforms and current account imbalances," BOFIT Discussion Papers 25/2013, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  7. Samuel Cudré, 2014. "Capital’s long march west: saving and investment frictions in Chinese regions," ECON - Working Papers 161, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stiglitz Joseph E & Greenwald Bruce, 2010. "Towards A New Global Reserve System," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-26, December.
  10. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2010. "On gender and growth : the role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5492, The World Bank.

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