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Adjustment in the World Economy

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  • Paul Krugman

Abstract

There is a widespread view that world payments imbalances can be remedied through increased demand in surplus countries and reduced demand in deficit countries, without any need for real exchange rate changes. In fact shifts in demand and real exchange rate adjustment are necessary couplets, not substitutes. The essential reason for this complementarity is that a much higher fraction of a marginal dollar of US than of foreign spending falls on US output. As a result, a redistribution of world spending away from the US leads to an excess supply of US goods unless accompanied by a decline in their relative price. Although some economists believe that the integration of world capital markets somehow eliminates this problem, this is a fallacy that confuses accounting identities with behavior. The paper also addresses a number of relates issues, such as the role of budget deficits in determining domestic demand and the effectiveness of nominal exchange rates changes in producing real depreciation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2424.

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Date of creation: Oct 1987
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Publication status: published as Krugman, Paul "Adjustment in the World Economy." GROUP OF THIRTY OCCASION AL PAPERS, No. 24, (1987), pp. 1-40.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2424

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  1. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paul R. Krugman, 1985. "Is the strong dollar sustainable?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 103-155.
  3. Goldstein, Morris & Khan, Mohsin S., 1985. "Income and price effects in foreign trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1041-1105 Elsevier.
  4. Paul R. Krugman & Richard E. Baldwin, 1987. "The Persistence of the U.S. Trade Deficit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 1-56.
  5. Gordon, Robert J., 1986. "U. S. Fiscal Deficits and the World Imbalance of Payments," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 27(Special I), pages 7-41, January.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Perspectives on High World Real Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 273-334.
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Cited by:
  1. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "THE EXTERNAL WEALTH OF NATIONS: Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities For Industrial and Developing Countries," CEG Working Papers 20012, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  2. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2002. "External Wealth, the Trade Balance and the Real Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 3153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Peter Hooper, 1989. "Macroeconomic policies, competitiveness, and U.S. external adjustment," International Finance Discussion Papers 347, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Charles Bronowski & Juann H. Hung, 2002. "Modeling the U.S. Current Account as the Savings-Investment Balance: Technical Paper 2002-5," Working Papers 14224, Congressional Budget Office.
  5. Babacar XSENE, 2005. "Impact du fardeau virtuel de la dette sur le taux de change réel d'équilibre des pays en développement," Macroeconomics 0501014, EconWPA.
  6. Michele Bullock & Stephen Grenville & Geoffrey Heenan, 1993. "The Exchange Rate and the Current Account," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Adrian Blundell-Wignall (ed.), The Exchange Rate, International Trade and the Balance of Payments Reserve Bank of Australia.

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