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Capital Flows, Consumption Booms and Asset Bubbles: A Behavioural Alternative to the Savings Glut Hypothesis

  • David Laibson
  • Johanna Mollerstrom

Bernanke (2005) hypothesised that a 'global savings glut' was causing large trade imbalances. However, we show that the global savings rates did "not" show a robust upward trend during the relevant period. Moreover, "if" there had been a global savings glut there should have been a large investment boom in the countries that imported capital. Instead, those countries experienced consumption booms. National asset bubbles explain the international imbalances. The bubbles raised consumption, resulting in large trade deficits. In a sample of 18 OECD countries plus China, movements in home prices alone explain half of the variation in trade deficits. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2010.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2010.02363.x
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 120 (2010)
Issue (Month): 544 (05)
Pages: 354-374

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:544:p:354-374
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  1. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2008. "Current Account Patterns and National Real Estate Markets," NBER Working Papers 13921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2007. "When can changes in expectations cause business cycle fluctuations in neo-classical settings?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 458-477, July.
  3. Alan Greenspan & James E. Kennedy, 2007. "Sources and uses of equity extracted from homes," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Scholarly Articles 3229094, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  6. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990. "World Real Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 3317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990. "World Real Interest Rates," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 15-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Glaeser, Edward L. & Gyourko, Joseph & Saiz, Albert, 2008. "Housing supply and housing bubbles," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 198-217, September.
  8. Basco, Sergi, 2014. "Globalization and financial development: A model of the Dot-Com and the Housing Bubbles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 78-94.
  9. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2006. "Bubbles and capital flow volatility: Causes and risk management," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 35-53, January.
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