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Macroeconomic Imbalances in the World Economy

  • Roe, Terry L.
  • Shane, Mathew
  • Heerman, Kari

This paper explores the emergence of large current account imbalances in a few large countries, the factors behind the emergence, the role of those imbalances in the financial crisis of 2008-09, and the implications of achieving global balance. Imbalances reflect a country’s net savings and suggest that growth in GDP of a surplus country is partly dependent upon growth in external demand of deficit countries. Although a country can incur a surplus or deficit for ever, we suggest that the increasing surpluses of relatively large and rapidly growing countries is likely to be destabilizing to global growth in the long-run. The adjustment will likely require a surplus country, such as China, to rely more on domestic demand for growth while a deficit country, such as the U.S., may need to rely more on external demand for growth. We suggest the Eurozone imbalances are not directly linked to U.S. imbalances. There are a variety of potential causes of global imbalances including excess savings in surplus countries, the twin deficit hypothesis, the export-led growth hypothesis, and the possible miss-measurement of the U.S. current account due to repatriation of profits from U.S. owned foreign affiliates. However, whatever the combination of causes of the growing imbalances, adjustments need to be made to return to long-terms sustainable growth.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/109244
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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy in its series Working Papers with number 109244.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umciwp:109244
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  1. David Mayer-Foulkes, 2009. "Long-Term Fundamentals of the 2008 Economic Crisis," Working papers DTE 467, CIDE, División de Economía.
  2. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Scholarly Articles 3229094, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Robert E. Lipsey, 2009. "Measuring International Trade in Services," NBER Chapters, in: International Trade in Services and Intangibles in the Era of Globalization, pages 27-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Christopher Telmer, 2009. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," NBER Working Papers 15525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Technology capital and the U.S. current account," Working Papers 646, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Olivier J. Blanchard & Paolo Mauro, 2010. "Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/03, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Bems, Rudolfs & Dedola, Luca & Smets, Frank, 2007. "US imbalances: The role of technology and policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 523-545, June.
  8. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves; Precautionary vs. Mercantilist Views, Theory, and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 05/198, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Judith A. Giles, & Cara L. Williams, 1999. "Export-led Growth: A Survey of the Empirical Literature and Some Noncausality Results," Econometrics Working Papers 9901, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2009. "Global Imbalances and Financial Fragility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 584-88, May.
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