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The missing dark matter in the wealth of nations and its implications for global imbalances
[‘The US current account and the dollar’]

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  • Ricardo Hausmann
  • Federico Sturzenegger

Abstract

Current account statistics may not be good indicators of the evolution of a country's net foreign assets and of its external position's sustainability. The value of existing assets may vary independently of current account flows, so-called ‘return privileges’ may allow some countries to obtain abnormal returns, and mismeasurement of FDI, unreported trade of insurance or liquidity services, and debt relief may also play a role. We analyse the relevant evidence in a large set of countries and periods, and examine measures of net foreign assets obtained by capitalizing the net investment income and then estimating the current account from the changes in this stock of foreign assets. We call dark matter the difference between our measure of net foreign assets and that measured by official statistics. We find it to be important for many countries, analyse its relationship with theoretically relevant factors, and note that the resulting perspective tends to make global net asset positions appear relatively stable.— Ricardo Hausmann and Federico Sturzenegger

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2007. "The missing dark matter in the wealth of nations and its implications for global imbalances [‘The US current account and the dollar’]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22(51), pages 470-518.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecpoli:v:22:y:2007:i:51:p:470-518.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2007.00182.x
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