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Are Global Imbalances Sustainable? Shedding Further Light on the Causes of Current Account Reversals

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  • Luiz de Mello
  • Pier Carlo Padoan
  • Linda Rousová

Abstract

Large shifts in countries’ external current account positions can be disruptive, often reflecting sudden stops in the flows of external finance and leading to exchange rate and banking crises. As a result, an empirical literature has emerged on the sustainability of, and the determinants of large swings in, current account positions. We shed further light on this issue by testing for the presence of unit roots in the current account balance-to-GDP ratios of a large set of mature and emerging-market economies using a methodology that allows for structural breaks in intercepts and trends. We then construct a chronology of current account reversals that is consistent with sustainability of external positions and use it to estimate the factors explaining the likelihood and magnitude of such reversals using a selection model with ordered probit in the first stage. We find that most of the factors that explain the probability of reversals, such as trends in capital flows, in the budget balance and in external positions, also influence their magnitude. But there are a few exceptions. For instance, the stance of monetary policy and the magnitude of external imbalances prior to a reversal seem to be more powerful predictors of the probability of reversals than of their magnitude. Les déséquilibres mondiaux sont-ils viables ? : Mieux comprendre les causes des retournements de balance courante Les amples variations des soldes des paiements courants des pays peuvent avoir des effets perturbateurs, puisqu'elles tiennent souvent à de brusques interruptions des entrées de capitaux extérieurs et débouchent fréquemment sur des crises de change et bancaires. En conséquence, de nombreux travaux empiriques ont été réalisés sur la viabilité des soldes des paiements courants et les déterminants de leurs amples fluctuations. Nous apportons un nouvel éclairage sur cette question en procédant à un test de racine unitaire sur les ratios solde des paiements courants/PIB d'un vaste ensemble d'
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Suggested Citation

  • Luiz de Mello & Pier Carlo Padoan & Linda Rousová, 2012. "Are Global Imbalances Sustainable? Shedding Further Light on the Causes of Current Account Reversals," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 489-516, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:20:y:2012:i:3:p:489-516 DOI: j.1467-9396.2012.01035.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Angelini, Elisabetta Croci & Farina, Francesco, 2012. "Current account imbalances and systemic risk within a monetary union," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 647-656.
    2. Debasish Kumar Das, 2016. "Determinants of current account imbalance in the global economy: a dynamic panel analysis," Journal of Economic Structures, Springer;Pan-Pacific Association of Input-Output Studies (PAPAIOS), pages 1-24.
    3. Christophe André & Tsangyao Chang & Luis A. Gil-Alana & Rangan Gupta, 2017. "Current Account Sustainability in G7 and BRICS: Evidence from a Long Memory Model with Structural Breaks," Working Papers 201705, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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