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international Capital Flows and Domestic Economic Policies


  • Frankel, Jeffrey A.


This paper, written for the NBER Conference on the Changing Role of the United States in the World Economy, covers the capital account in the U.S. balance of payments. It first traces the history from 1946 to 1980, a period throughout which Americans were steadily building up a positive net foreign investment position. It subsequently describes the historic swing of the capital account in the 1980s toward massive borrowing from abroad. There are various factors, in addition to expected rates of return, that encourage or discourage international capital flows: transactions costs, government controls, taxes, default and other political risk and exchange risk. But the paper argues that the increase in real interest rates and other expected rates of return in the United States, relative to other countries, in the early 1980s was the major factor that began to attract large net capital inflows. It concludes that a large increase in the U.S. federal budget deficit, which was not offset by increased private saving, was the major factor behind the increase in real interest rates, and therefore behind the switch to borrowing from abroad.
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Suggested Citation

  • Frankel, Jeffrey A., 1987. "international Capital Flows and Domestic Economic Policies," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1q85b9j6, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt1q85b9j6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Guido E. Van der Ven & John F. Wilson, 1986. "The United States international asset and liability position: a comparison of flow of funds and Commerce department presentations," International Finance Discussion Papers 295, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Arvind Mahajan & Donald R Fraser, 1986. "Dollar Eurobond and U.S. Bond Pricing," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 17(2), pages 21-36, June.
    3. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1986. "Implications of the U.S. Net Capital Inflow," NBER Working Papers 1804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Martin S. Feldstein, 1986. "The Budget Deficit and the Dollar," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 355-409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. K. Alec Chrystal, 1984. "International banking facilities," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 66(Apr), pages 5-11.
    6. Martin Feldstein, 1986. "Budget Deficits, Tax Rules, and real Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 1970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniele Checchi, 1996. "Capital Controls And Conflict Of Interests," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 33-50, March.
    2. Deborah J. Danker & Peter Hooper, 1990. "International financial markets and the U.S. external imbalance," International Finance Discussion Papers 372, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 1990.
    3. Daniele Checchi, 1992. "What are the Real Effects of Liberalizing International Capital Movements?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 83-125, February.
    4. Ronald MacDonald & Luca A Ricci, 2001. "PPP and the Balassa Samuelson Effect; The Role of the Distribution Sector," IMF Working Papers 2001/038, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Pope, Robin & Selten, Reinhard & Kaiser, Johannes & Kube, Sebastian & von Hagen, J├╝rgen, 2007. "The damage from clean floats: From an anti-inflationary monetary policy," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers 19/2007, University of Bonn, Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE).
    6. Charles Engel & James D. Hamilton, 1989. "Long Swings in the Exchange Rate: Are they in the Data and Do Markets Know It?," NBER Working Papers 3165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. MacDonald, Ronald, 1996. "Panel unit root tests and real exchange rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 7-11, January.
    8. Kim, Iljoong & Kim, Inbae, 2008. "Interest group pressure explanations for the yen-dollar exchange rate movements: Focusing on the 1980s," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 364-382, September.


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