IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v22y2008i3p113-25.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Resolving the Global Imbalance: The Dollar and the U.S. Saving Rate

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Feldstein

Abstract

The massive deficit in the U.S. trade and current accounts is one of the most striking features of the current global economy and, to some observers, one of the most worrying. Although the current account deficit finally began to shrink in 2007, it remained at more than 5 percent of GDP -- more than $700 billion. While some observers claim that the U.S. economy can continue to have trade deficits of this magnitude for years -- some would say for decades -- into the future, I believe that such enormous deficits cannot continue and will decline significantly in the coming years. This paper discusses the reasons for that decline and the changes that are needed in the U.S. saving rate and in the value of the dollar to bring it about. Reducing the U.S. current account deficit does not require action by the U.S. government or by the governments of America's trading partners. Market forces alone will cause the U.S. trade deficit to decline further. In practice, however, changes in government policies at home and abroad may lead to faster reductions in the U.S. trade deficit. More important, the response of the U.S. and foreign governments and central banks will determine the way in which the global economy as a whole adjusts to the decline in the U.S. trade deficit. Reductions in the U.S. current account deficit will of course imply lower aggregate trade surpluses in the rest of the world. Taken by itself, a reduction in any country's trade surplus will reduce aggregate demand and therefore employment in that country. I will therefore look at what other countries -- China, Japan, and European countries -- can do to avoid the adverse consequences of the inevitable decline of the U.S. trade deficit.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein, 2008. "Resolving the Global Imbalance: The Dollar and the U.S. Saving Rate," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 113-125, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:113-25
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.3.113
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.22.3.113
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Dollar & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Das (Wasted) Kapital; Firm Ownership and Investment Efficiency in China," IMF Working Papers 07/9, International Monetary Fund.
    2. John B. Taylor, 2007. "Housing and monetary policy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 463-476.
    3. Martin Feldstein, 2005. "Monetary Policy in a Changing International Environment: The Role of Global Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 11856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert J. Shiller, 2007. "Understanding recent trends in house prices and homeownership," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 89-123.
    5. Martin Feldstein, 2006. "The 2006 Economic Report of the President: Comment on Chapter One (The Year in Review) and Chapter Six (The Capital Account Surplus)," NBER Working Papers 12168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:113-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.