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Globalization and the Sustainability of Large Current Account Imbalances: Size Matters

Listed author(s):
  • Aizenman, Joshua
  • Sun, Yi

This paper evaluates the sustainability of large current account imbalances in the era when the Chinese GDP growth rate and current account/GDP exceed 10%. We investigate the size distribution and the durability of current account deficits during 1966-2005, and report the results of a simulation that relies on the adding-up property of global current account balances. Excluding the US, we find that size does matter: the length of current account deficit spells is negatively related to the relative size of the countries’ GDP. We conclude that the continuation of the fast growth rate of China, while maintaining its large current account/GPD surpluses, would be constrained by the limited sustainability of the larger current account deficits/GDP of courtiers that grow at a much slower rate. Consequently, short of the emergence of a new “demander of last resort,†the Chinese growth path would be challenged by its own success.

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File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/2bs193w4.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt2bs193w4.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt2bs193w4
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  1. 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.
  2. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2007. "International Reserves: Precautionary Versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 191-214, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Aizenman, Joshua & Pinto, Brian & Radziwill, Artur, 2007. "Sources for financing domestic capital - Is foreign saving a viable option for developing countries?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 682-702, September.
  5. Olivier Blanchard, 2007. "Current Account Deficits in Rich Countries," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(2), pages 191-219, June.
  6. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 358-393, March.
  8. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2013. "Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Allocation Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1484-1515.
  9. Eswar S. Prasad & Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 153-230.
  10. 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.
  11. Carroll, Christopher D. & Weil, David N., 1994. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 133-192, June.
  12. Jiandong Ju & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "Domestic Institutions and the Bypass Effect of Financial Globalization," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 173-204, November.
  13. Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2007. "Current account balances, financial development and institutions: Assaying the world "saving glut"," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 546-569, June.
  14. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2008. "Financial versus Monetary Mercantilism: Long-run View of Large International Reserves Hoarding," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 593-611, 05.
  15. repec:rus:hseeco:317881 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Robert C. Feenstra & Chang Hong, 2010. "China's Exports and Employment," NBER Chapters,in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Richard N. Cooper, 2005. "Living with Global Imbalances: A Contrarian View," Policy Briefs PB05-03, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  18. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  19. 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.
  20. Romain Ranciere & Olivier D Jeanne, 2006. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries; Formulas and Applications," IMF Working Papers 06/229, International Monetary Fund.
  21. Olivier Jeanne, 2007. "International Reserves in Emerging Market Countries: Too Much of a Good Thing?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 1-80.
  22. Sebastian Edwards, 2007. "On Current Account Surpluses and the Correction of Global Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 12904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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