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Demography and Low-Frequency Capital Flows

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2013

Author

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  • David Backus
  • Thomas Cooley
  • Espen Henriksen

Abstract

We consider the causes of international capital flows. Since capital flows are extremely persistent, we argue that their drivers must be persistent, too. We think the most compelling candidates are demographic trends, tfp differences and financial frictions. In this paper we focus primarily on the role of demography in a multi-country overlapping generations model in which saving decisions are tied to agents' life expectancy. Capital flows reflect differences between saving and investment across countries. Demographic changes affect the aggregate accumulation of assets in two ways: by changing life expectancy which changes individual household saving behavior, and by changing the age distribution of the population by which individual household decisions are aggregated. The most important drivers turn out to be increases in life expectancy caused by decreases in adult mortality.We use a quantitative version of the model to illustrate the impact of demography on capital flows and net foreign assets in China, Germany, Japan, and the United States.
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Suggested Citation

  • David Backus & Thomas Cooley & Espen Henriksen, 2013. "Demography and Low-Frequency Capital Flows," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2013, pages 94-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13151
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mervyn King & David Low, 2014. "Measuring the ''World'' Real Interest Rate," NBER Working Papers 19887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zsofia Barany & Nicolas Coeurdacier & Stéphane Guibaud, 2015. "Fertility, Longevity and International Capital Flows," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5402sfihji9, Sciences Po.
    3. Curtis, Chadwick C. & Lugauer, Steven & Mark, Nelson C., 2017. "Demographics and aggregate household saving in Japan, China, and India," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 175-191.
    4. Ferrero, Giuseppe & Gross, Marco & Neri, Stefano, 2017. "On secular stagnation and low interest rates: demography matters," Working Paper Series 2088, European Central Bank.
    5. D.D. Evans, Martin, 2017. "External balances, trade and financial conditions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 165-184.
    6. Katerina Koka, 2015. "The Impact of the Population Age Structure on the Response to Negative Asset Shocks," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2270-2281.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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