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What drives U.S. current account fluctuations?

  • Barnett, Alina
  • Straub, Roland

We use a structural VAR with sign restrictions to jointly identify the impact of monetary policy, private absorption, technology and oil price shocks on current account fluctuations in the U.S.. We derive the sign restrictions from theoretical impulse response functions of a DSGE model with oil, ensuring that these are consistent with a broad range of parameter values. We find that a contractionary oil price shock has a negative effect on the current account which lasts for approximately 3 years. We also find that monetary policy shocks and private absorption shocks are the main drivers of historical current account deteriorations in the U.S. Furthermore, monetary policy shocks can explain approximately 60 percent at a one year forecast horizon, although this reduces to around 40 per cent at a 7 year horizon, whilst the oil price explains just under 10 percent of the forecast error variance of the U.S. current account. JEL Classification: E0, F32, F4

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0959.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20080959
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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  2. Canova, Fabio & Nicolo, Gianni De, 2002. "Monetary disturbances matter for business fluctuations in the G-7," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1131-1159, September.
  3. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Price Shocks: Why are the 2000s so different from the 1970s?," Working Papers 0711, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  4. Bems, Rudolfs & Dedola, Luca & Smets, Frank, 2007. "US imbalances: the role of technology and policy," Working Paper Series 0719, European Central Bank.
  5. Luca Benati & Paolo Surico, 2009. "VAR Analysis and the Great Moderation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1636-52, September.
  6. Fabio Canova, 2005. "The transmission of US shocks to Latin America," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 229-251.
  7. Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu & Straub, Roland, 2011. "Asset Market Participation, Monetary Policy Rules and the Great Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8555, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Hans-Martin Krolzig & Michael P. Clements, 2002. "Can oil shocks explain asymmetries in the US Business Cycle?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 185-204.
  9. Blanchard, Olivier J & Galí, Jordi, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Shocks: Why are the 2000s so Different from the 1970s?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6631, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Erceg & Martin Bodenstein, 2008. "Oil Shocks and External Adjustment," 2008 Meeting Papers 945, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Bernanke, Ben S & Gertler, Mark & Watson, Mark W, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Reply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 287-91, April.
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