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Technology Capital and the U.S. Current Account

  • Ellen R McGrattan
  • Edward C Prescott

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates that the return on investments of foreign subsidiaries of US multinational companies over the period 1982-2006 averaged 9.4 percent annually after taxes; US subsidiaries of foreign multinationals averaged only 3.2 percent. BEA returns on foreign direct investment (FDI) are distorted because most intangible investments made by multinationals are expensed. We develop a multicountry general equilibrium model with an essential role for FDI and apply the BEA's methodology to construct economic statistics for the model economy. We estimate that mismeasurement of intangible investments accounts for over 60 percent of the difference in BEA returns. (JEL F23, F32)

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000001827.

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Date of creation: 09 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000001827
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2007. "The Unsustainable U.S. Current Account Position Revisited," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 339-376 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caballero, Ricardo J & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7xc0g8mm, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "Technology Capital and the U.S. Current Account," NBER Working Papers 13983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alessandra Fogli & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "The Great Moderation and the U.S. External Imbalance," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 24(S1), pages 209-225, December.
  5. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Average debt and equity returns: puzzling?," Staff Report 313, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Hausmann, Ricardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2006. "Global Imbalances or Bad Accounting? The Missing Dark Matter in the Wealth of Nations," Working Paper Series rwp06-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000715, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Demsetz, Harold, 1979. "Accounting for Advertising as a Barrier to Entry," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 345-60, July.
  9. Mendoza, Enrique G & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2007. "Financial Integration, Financial Deepness and Global Imbalances," CEPR Discussion Papers 6149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 11-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Openness, technology capital, and development," Working Papers 651, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," NBER Working Papers 13768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Chris Telmer, 2005. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," 2005 Meeting Papers 115, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Ayanian, Robert, 1975. "Advertising and Rate of Return," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 479-506, October.
  16. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-border returns differentials," International Finance Discussion Papers 921, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Carol Corrado & Charles R. Hulten & Daniel E. Sichel, 2004. "Measuring capital and technology: an expanded framework," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-65, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Daniel Sichel, 2005. "Introduction to "Measuring Capital in the New Economy"," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1495-1530.
  21. Bloch, Harry, 1974. "Advertising and Profitability: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 267-86, Part I, M.
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