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Towards a Theory of Current Accounts

  • Ventura, Jaume

The current accounts data of industrial countries exhibits some strong patterns that are inconsistent with the intertemporal approach to the current account. This is the basic model that international economists have been using for more than two decades to think about current account issues. This paper shows that it is possible to go a long way towards reconciling the theory and the data by introducing two additional features to the basic model: investment risk and adjustment costs to investment. Moreover, these extensions generate new and unexpected theoretical predictions that receive substantial support in the data. The overall message is therefore positive: with a couple of reasonable modifications, the intertemporal approach to the current account provides a fairly good description of the industrial country data.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3545.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3545
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  1. Tesar, L.L., 1988. "Savings, Investment And International Capital Flows," Papers 64, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld and Kenneth Rogoff., 1994. "The Intertemporal Approach to the Current Account," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-044, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-26, May.
  4. Aart Kraay & Norman Loayza & Luis Serven & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Country Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 7795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kraay, Aart & Ventura, Jaume, 2002. "Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 3440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1992. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 4140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Razin, A., 1993. "The Dynamic-Optimizing Approach to the Current Account: Theory and Evidence," Papers 2-93, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  8. Loayza, Norman & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "What drives private saving around the world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2309, The World Bank.
  9. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kraay, A. & Ventura, J., 1997. "Current Acounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," Working papers 97-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
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