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Fear and Market Failure: Global Imbalances and 'Self-insurance'

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  • Miller, Marcus
  • Zhang, Lei

Abstract

Two key issues are examined in an integrated framework: the emergence of global imbalances and the precautionary motive for accumulating reserves. Standard models of general equilibrium would predict modest current account surpluses in the emerging markets if they face higher risk than the US itself. But, with pronounced Loss Aversion in Emerging Markets, their precautionary savings can generate substantial ‘global imbalances’, especially if there is an inefficient supply of global ‘insurance’. A combination of fear and market failure generates imbalances as a general equilibrium outcome. In principle, lower real interest rates will ensure aggregate demand equals supply at a global level: but disequilibrium may result if the required real interest rate is negative. A precautionary savings glut appears to us to be a temporary phenomenon, however, destined for correction as and when adequate reserve levels are achieved. If the process of correction is triggered by ‘Sudden Stop’ on capital flows to the US, might this not lead to 'hard landing' that is forecast by several leading macroeconomists? When precautionary saving is combined with financial panic, history offers no guarantee of full employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Miller, Marcus & Zhang, Lei, 2006. "Fear and Market Failure: Global Imbalances and 'Self-insurance'," CEPR Discussion Papers 6000, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6000
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hume, Michael & Sentance, Andrew, 2009. "The global credit boom: Challenges for macroeconomics and policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1426-1461, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Bini Smaghi, Lorenzo, 2007. "Global imbalances and monetary policy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 711-727.
    4. Olivier Jeanne & Romain Rancière, 2011. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves For Emerging Market Countries: A New Formula and Some Applications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 905-930, September.
    5. Chris Hunt, 2008. "Financial turmoil and global imbalances: the end of Bretton Woods II?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 71, September.
    6. Kaltenbrunner, Annina & Nissanke, Machiko, 2009. "The Case for an Intermediate Exchange Rate Regime with Endogenizing Market Structures and Capital Mobility," WIDER Working Paper Series 029, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    liquidity trap; loss aversion; stochastic dynamic general equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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