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Global imbalances and the financial crisis: products of common causes

  • Obstfeld, Maurice
  • Rogoff, Kenneth

This paper makes a case that the global imbalances of the 2000s and the recent global financial crisis are intimately connected. Both have their origins in economic policies followed in a number of countries in the 2000s and in distortions that influenced the transmission of these policies through U.S. and ultimately through global financial markets. In the U.S., the interaction among the Fed’s monetary stance, global real interest rates, credit market distortions, and financial innovation created the toxic mix of conditions making the U.S. the epicenter of the global financial crisis. Outside the U.S., exchange rate and other economic policies followed by emerging markets such as China contributed to the United States’ ability to borrow cheaply abroad and thereby finance its unsustainable housing bubble.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): Oct ()
Pages: 131-172

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2009:p:131-172
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Jay C. Shambaugh & Alan M. Taylor, 2008. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," NBER Working Papers 14217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 358-93, March.
  3. Joshua D. Coval & Jakub W. Jurek & Erik Stafford, 2009. "Economic Catastrophe Bonds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 628-66, June.
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  5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  6. Reinhart, Carmen, 2009. "The Second Great Contraction," MPRA Paper 21485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Fratzscher, Marcel & Juvenal, Luciana & Sarno, Lucio, 2007. "Asset prices, exchange rates and the current account," Working Paper Series 0790, European Central Bank.
  8. Lane, Philip R. & Schmukler, Sergio, 2006. "The International Financial Integration of China and India," CEPR Discussion Papers 5852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Koijen, Ralph S.J. & Hemert, Otto Van & Nieuwerburgh, Stijn Van, 2009. "Mortgage timing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 292-324, August.
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  11. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2009. "Current account patterns and national real estate markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 75-89, September.
  12. Koh, Winston T.H. & Mariano, Roberto S. & Pavlov, Andrey & Phang, Sock Yong & Tan, Augustine H.H. & Wachter, Susan M., 2005. "Bank lending and real estate in Asia: market optimism and asset bubbles," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1103-1118, January.
  13. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2005. "International financial adjustment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. L. Alan Winters & Shahid Yusuf, 2007. "Dancing with the Giants: China, India, and the Global Economy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6632, August.
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  16. Francis E. Warnock & Veronica Cacdac Warnock, 2006. "International Capital Flows and U.S. Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 12560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Rakesh Mohan & Muneesh Kapur, 2012. "Liberalization and Regulation of Capital Flows: Lessons for Emerging Market Economies," Chapters, in: Implications of the Global Financial Crisis for Financial Reform and Regulation in Asia, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  18. Mendoza, Enrique G & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2007. "Financial Integration, Financial Deepness and Global Imbalances," CEPR Discussion Papers 6149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. University of Chicago & Pedro Gete, 2009. "Housing Markets and Current Account Dynamics," 2009 Meeting Papers 427, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2005. "Current Account Balances, Financial Development and Institutions: Assaying the World "Savings Glut"," NBER Working Papers 11761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Naohiko Baba & Robert N McCauley & Srichander Ramaswamy, 2009. "US dollar money market funds and non-US banks," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
  22. Plamen K Iossifov & Martin Cihak & Amar Shanghavi, 2008. "Interest Rate Elasticity of Residential Housing Prices," IMF Working Papers 08/247, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Edison, Hali J & Luangaram, Pongsak & Miller, Marcus, 2000. "Asset Bubbles, Leverage and 'Lifeboats': Elements of the East Asian Crisis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 309-34, January.
  24. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496.
  25. Gourinchas, Pierre-Oliver & Farhi, Emmanuel & Caballero, Ricardo J., 2008. "Financial Crash, Commodity Prices, and Global Imbalances," Scholarly Articles 3229095, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  26. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Gete, Pedro, 2009. "Housing Markets and Current Account Dynamics," MPRA Paper 20957, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Feb 2010.
  28. Quigley, John M., 2002. "Real Estate and the Asian Crisis," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt4f4951b0, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
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