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Composition and growth effects of the current account: A synthesized portfolio view

  • Guo, Kai
  • Jin, Keyu

This paper analyzes a useful accounting framework that breaks down the current account to two components: a composition effect and a growth effect. We show that past empirical evidence, which strongly supports the growth effect as the main driver of current account dynamics, is misconceived. The remarkable empirical success of the growth effect is driven by the dominance of the cross-sectional variation, which, under conditions met by the data, is generated by an accounting approximation. In contrast to previous findings that the portfolio share of net foreign assets to total assets is constant in a country, both our theoretical and empirical results support a highly persistent process or a unit-root process, with some countries displaying a trend. Finally, we reestablish the composition effect as the quantitatively dominant driving force of current account dynamics in the past data.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 79 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 31-41

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:79:y:2009:i:1:p:31-41
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. Richard N. Cooper, 2005. "Living with Global Imbalances: A Contrarian View," Policy Briefs PB05-03, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  2. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Helene Rey, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 11155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Matthieu Bussiere & Georgios Chortareas & Rebecca Driver, 2003. "Current Accounts, Net Foreign Assets and the Implications of Cyclical Factors," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 269-286, Spring.
  4. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Current Accounts In Debtor And Creditor Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1137-1166, November.
  5. Cedric Tille, 2005. "Financial Integration and the Wealth Effect of Exchange Rate Fluctuations," 2005 Meeting Papers 282, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Blanchard, Olivier & Giavazzi, Francesco & Sá, Filipa, 2005. "The US Current Account and the Dollar," CEPR Discussion Papers 4888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Caballero, Ricardo J & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7xc0g8mm, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2003. "Current Accounts in the Long and the Short Run," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 65-112 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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