IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Unsustainable US Current Account Position Revisited

  • Obstfeld, Maurice
  • Rogoff, Kenneth S

Keywords: US current account deficit, external imbalance, net foreign assets, real exchange rate, sustainability JEL Codes: F21, F32, F36, F41 ABSTRACT:We show that the when one takes into account the global equilibrium ramifications of an unwinding of the US current account deficit, currently running at more than 6% of GDP, the potential collapse of the dollar becomes considerably larger than our previous estimates (Obstfeld and Rogoff 2000a)—as much as 30% or even higher. It is true that global capital market deepening appears to have accelerated over the past decade (a fact documented by Lane and Milesi-Ferreti (2003, 2004) and recently emphasized by outgoing US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan), and that this deepening may have helped allowed the United States to a recordbreaking string of deficits. Unfortunately, however, global capital market deepening turns out to be of only modest help in mitigating the dollar decline that will almost inevitably occur in the wake of global current account adjustment. As the analysis of our earlier papers (2000a,b) showed, and the model of this paper reinforces, adjustments to large current account shifts depend mainly on the flexibility and global integration of goods and factor markets. Whereas the dollar’s decline may be benign as in the 1980s, we argue that the current conjuncture more closely parallels the early 1970s, when the Bretton Woods system collapsed. Finally, we use our model to dispel some common misconceptions about what kinds of shifts are needed to help close the US current account imbalance. For example, faster growth abroad helps only if it is relatively concentrated in nontradable goods; faster productivity growth in foreign tradable goods will actually exacerbate the US adjustment problem.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/4f63x50j.pdf;origin=repeccitec
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series with number qt4f63x50j.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 30 Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ciders:qt4f63x50j
Contact details of provider: Postal: F502 Haas, Berkeley CA 94720-1922
Phone: (510) 642-1922
Fax: (510) 642-5018
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/iber_cider/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Charles Engel, 1995. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 5394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2003. "International Financial Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 3769, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 2002. "Exchange Rate Pass-Through into Import Prices: A Macro or Micro Phenomenon?," NBER Working Papers 8934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Obstfeld,Maurice & Taylor,Alan M., 2004. "Global Capital Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521633178.
  6. Kenneth Rogoff & William Brainard & George Perry, . "Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments," Working Paper 33687, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  7. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt124628cx, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Cedric Tille, 2003. "The impact of exchange rate movements on U.S. foreign debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Jan).
  9. Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi & Guillermo A. Calvo, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability: Argentina's Lessons," Research Department Publications 4299, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "Perspectives on OECD Economic Integration: Implications for US Current Account Adjustment," International Trade 0012004, EconWPA.
  11. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2003. "An Essay on the Revived Bretton Woods System," NBER Working Papers 9971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alan Greenspan, 2004. "The Evolving U.S. Payments Imbalance and Its Impact on Europe and the Rest of the World," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 24(1-2), pages 1-11, Spring/Su.
  13. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hilary Croke & Steven B. Kamin & Sylvain Leduc, 2005. "Financial market developments and economic activity during current account adjustments in industrial economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 827, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Warnock, Francis E., 2003. "Exchange rate dynamics and the welfare effects of monetary policy in a two-country model with home-product bias," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 343-363, June.
  16. Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Financial integration and the wealth effect of exchange rate fluctuations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 283-294, July.
  17. Alejandro Izquierdo, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability in Argentina," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(7), pages 903-923, 07.
  18. Catherine L. Mann, 1999. "Is the U.S. Trade Deficit Sustainable?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 47.
  19. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Philip R. Lane, 2005. "Financial Globalization and Exchange Rates," IMF Working Papers 05/3, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Joseph E. Gagnon, 2003. "Productive capacity, product varieties, and the elasticities approach to the trade balance," International Finance Discussion Papers 781, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The revived Bretton Woods system," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 307-313.
  22. Gordon, Robert J, 2004. "Two Centuries of Economic Growth: Europe Chasing the American Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 4415, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  24. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
  25. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? And If Not, How Costly is Adjustment Likely To Be?," NBER Working Papers 11541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Lane, Philip & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, . "External Wealth of Nations," Instructional Stata datasets for econometrics extwealth, Boston College Department of Economics.
  28. repec:cto:journl:v:24:y:2004:i:1-2:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:ciders:qt4f63x50j. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.