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House Prices Drive Current Accounts: Evidence from Property Tax Variations

  • Geerolf, François
  • Grjebine, Thomas

We study the causal link between house prices and current accounts. Across time and countries, we find a very large and significant impact of house prices on current accounts. In order to rule out endogeneity concerns, we instrument house prices for a panel of countries, using property tax variations. A 10% instrumented appreciation in house prices leads to a deterioration in the current account of 1.7% of GDP. These results are very robust to the inclusion of the determinants of current accounts. Following a house price increase, private savings decrease, through wealth effects rather than consumer-finance based mechanisms, while non-residential investment rises through a relaxation of financing constraints for firms.

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Paper provided by CEPREMAP in its series CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) with number 1315.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1315
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  1. Fratzscher, Marcel & Juvenal, Luciana & Sarno, Lucio, 2009. "Asset Prices, Exchange Rates and the Current Account," CEPR Discussion Papers 7614, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Andrea Ferrero, 2012. "House price booms, current account deficits, and low interest rates," Staff Reports 541, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  8. Aghion, Philippe & Angeletos, George-Marios & Banerjee, Abhijit & Manova, Kalina, 2010. "Volatility and growth: Credit constraints and the composition of investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 246-265, April.
  9. Jack Favilukis & David Kohn & Sydney C. Ludvigson & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2012. "International Capital Flows and House Prices: Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Housing and the Financial Crisis, pages 235-299 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Gete, Pedro, 2009. "Housing Markets and Current Account Dynamics," MPRA Paper 20957, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Feb 2010.
  12. Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S. & Ravn, M., 1997. "On Adjusting the H-P Filter for the Frequency of Observations," Discussion Paper 1997-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  16. David Laibson & Johanna Mollerstrom, 2010. "Capital Flows, Consumption Booms and Asset Bubbles: A Behavioural Alternative to the Savings Glut Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 15759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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