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Towards a Theory of Current Accounts


  • Jaume Ventura

    (CREI-UPF and MIT)


The current accounts data of industrial countries exhibits some strong patterns that are inconsistent with the intertemporal approach to the current account. This is the basic model that international economists have been using for more than two decades to think about current account issues. This paper shows that it is possible to go a long way towards reconciling the theory and the data by introducing two additional features to the basic model: investment risk and adjustment costs to investment. Moreover, these extensions generate new and unexpected theoretical predictions that receive substantial support in the data. The overall message is therefore positive: with a couple of reasonable modifications, the intertemporal approach to the current account provides a fairly good description of the industrial country data. Copyright © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaume Ventura, 2003. "Towards a Theory of Current Accounts," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 483-512, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:26:y:2003:i:4:p:483-512

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Glick, Reuven & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Global versus country-specific productivity shocks and the current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 159-192, February.
    2. Tesar, Linda L., 1991. "Savings, investment and international capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 55-78, August.
    3. Assaf Razin, 1993. "The Dynamic-Optimizing Approach to the Current Account: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    5. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
    6. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Current Accounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1137-1166.
    7. Kraay, Aart & Ventura, Jaume, 2002. "Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 3440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-226, May.
    9. Aart Kraay & Norman Loayza & Luis Servén & Jaume Ventura, 2005. "Country Portfolios," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 914-945, June.
    10. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "The intertemporal approach to the current account," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1731-1799 Elsevier.
    11. Loayza, Norman & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "What drives private saving around the world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2309, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jaume Ventura & Fernando Broner, 2008. "Rethinking the effects of financial liberalization," 2008 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Sebastián Edwards, 2008. "On Current Account Surpluses and the Correction of Global Imbalances," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Kevin Cowan & Sebastián Edwards & Rodrigo O. Valdés & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt- (ed.), Current Account and External Financing, edition 1, volume 12, chapter 2, pages 025-083 Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Erauskin, Iñaki, 2015. "Savings, the size of the net foreign asset position, and the dynamics of current accounts," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 353-370.
    4. Domenico Giannone & Michele Lenza, 2010. "The Feldstein-Horioka Fact," NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 103-117.
      • Domenico Giannone & Michele Lenza, 2010. "The Feldstein-Horioka Fact," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2009, pages 103-117 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:eee:ecmode:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:150-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Helmut Herwartz & Florian Siedenburg, 2007. "Determinants of Current Account Imbalances in 16 OECD Countries: An Out-Of-Sample Perspective," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 143(2), pages 349-374, July.
    7. Fernando Broner & Jaume Ventura, 2016. "Rethinking the Effects of Financial Globalization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(3), pages 1497-1542.
    8. repec:bth:wpaper:2004-04 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
    10. Herrmann, Sabine & Jochem, Axel, 2005. "Determinants of current account developments in the central and east European EU member states - consequences for the enlargement of the euro area," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,32, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    11. Georgopoulos, George & Hejazi, Walid, 2009. "The Feldstein-Horioka puzzle revisited: Is the home-bias much less?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 341-350, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements


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