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In search of lost capital: an estimation of undeclared portfolio assets

Author

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  • Valeria Pellegrini

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Enrico Tosti

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

The analyses of the international investment position and balance of payments statistics suggest that foreign assets held abroad are greatly underestimated, in particular in the sector of portfolio investments. The aim of this work is to test this hypothesis and to estimate the magnitude of under-reported assets. The approach is based on the comparison of mirror statistics on portfolio assets and liabilities, mainly using data coming from the Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS) conducted by the IMF, with the addition of information derived from several international databases. For the years from 2001 to 2010 the global discrepancy is estimated to be equal to 7.3% of world GDP on average. Different criteria have been adopted to attribute the share of the estimated under-reporting, particularly significant in the case of mutual funds issued by Luxembourg and the main off-shore centres, to the main euro area countries. Results vary from 6 to 10 per cent of national GDPs. If these amounts were added to national data, statistical consistency in international statistics would improve.

Suggested Citation

  • Valeria Pellegrini & Enrico Tosti, 2012. "In search of lost capital: an estimation of undeclared portfolio assets," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 131, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_131_12
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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/qef/2012-0131/QEF_131.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gabriel Zucman, 2013. "The Missing Wealth of Nations: Are Europe and the U.S. net Debtors or net Creditors?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1321-1364.
    2. Patrick McGuire & Nikola Tarashev, 2007. "Global monitoring with the BIS international banking statistics," CGFS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Research on global financial stability: the use of BIS international financial statistics, volume 29, pages 176-204 Bank for International Settlements.
    3. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2009. "Where did all the borrowing go? A forensic analysis of the U.S. external position," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-199, June.
    4. Alberto Felettigh & Paola Monti, 2008. "How to interpret the CPIS data on the distribution of foreign portfolio assets in the presence of sizeable cross-border positions in mutual funds. Evidence for Italy and the main euro-area countries," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 16, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "International Investment Patterns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 538-549, August.
    6. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2001. "The external wealth of nations: measures of foreign assets and liabilities for industrial and developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 263-294, December.
    7. Gabriel Zucman, 2012. "The missing wealth of nations: Are Europe and the U.S. net debtors or net creditors?," Working Papers halshs-00565224, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valerio Della Corte & Stefano Federico, 2016. "Foreign holders of Italian government debt securities: new evidence," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 363, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Riccardo De Bonis, 2016. "What Piketty said in Capital in the Twenty-first Century and how economists reacted," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 130, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international investment position; portfolio securities; under-reporting;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements

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