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International capital movements, speculation, and the 'conservation of saving' principle. A 'Harcourtian' interpretation of global imbalances and the global crisis


  • Lilia Costabile

    () (University of Naples Federico II, Italy)


This paper is inspired by the contributions made by Geoff Harcourt concerning the macroeconomics of open economies, international capital movements and speculation (e.g. Harcourt 1994, Dalziel/Harcourt 1997). This conceptual frame- work is developed in a simple model, useful for validating some of Harcourt’s policy proposals for open economies, as well as for interpreting global imbalances and the global crisis. More specifically, this paper describes the workings of two economies, Home and the Rest of the World (RoW), which are related through both trade and capital flows. On this basis, this article: (i) develops the relationship between income levels in a deficit country (Home) and in a partner country (RoW); (ii) studies the role of key parameters in the two countries’ main macroeconomic functions; (iii) applies the main results to global imbalances and in particular to the US, which plays the role of Home in the present context; (v) suggests a possible link between global imbalances, speculation, and the international role of the dollar; (vi) proposes an enlarged version of Harcourt’s 'modest proposal for taming speculators'.

Suggested Citation

  • Lilia Costabile, 2011. "International capital movements, speculation, and the 'conservation of saving' principle. A 'Harcourtian' interpretation of global imbalances and the global crisis," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 8(1), pages 201-217.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:ejeepi:v:8:y:2011:i:1:p201-217

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Professor H. B. Greven, 1887. "The Monetary System of Holland," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 79-83.
    2. Lilia Costabile, 2010. "The International Circuit of Key Currencies and the Global Crisis: Is there Scope for Reform?," Working Papers wp220, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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    More about this item


    global imbalances; capital movements; speculation; international monetary system;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions


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