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The Saving Glut Explanation of Global Imbalances: the Role of Underinvestment

  • Flavia Corneli

According to the “Saving Glut hypothesis”, global imbalances are caused by inefficiently high level of precautionary savings in financially underdeveloped regions, where agents have limited opportunity to diversify idiosyncratic risk. This paper generalizes the approach by modeling idiosyncratic risk in entrepreneurial activities, which can be only partially hedged. As a result, agents save too much and invest too little, relative to the efficient allocation, depressing production activities and the real interest rate. Capital account liberalization towards financially more advanced economies then produces an outflow of capital in search of safer investment, with the effect of further reducing domestic investment in countries with poor financial institutions. The model predicts welfare losses for less financially developed economies, and an increase in wealth inequality for advanced economies. Finally, the present analysis is able to explain the direct link between the financial crisis and global recession and the long run implications of worsening financial conditions on countries’ net external positions.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2009/41.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2009/41
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 11996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Neng Wang, 2003. "Caballero Meets Bewley: The Permanent-Income Hypothesis in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 927-936, June.
  4. Alessandra Bonfiglioli, 2007. "Financial Integration, Productivity and Capital Accumulation," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 680.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC), revised 19 Dec 2007.
  5. Oriana Bandiera & Gerard Caprio & Patrick Honohan & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2000. "Does Financial Reform Raise or Reduce Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 239-263, May.
  6. George-Marios Angeletos & Laurent Calvet, 2003. "Idiosyncratic Production Risk, Growth, and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 9764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2009. "On the Welfare Implications of Financial Globalization without Financial Development," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2007, pages 283-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Timotheos Angelidis, 2008. "Idiosyncratic Risk in Emerging Markets," Working Papers 0018, University of Peloponnese, Department of Economics.
  9. George-Marios Angeletos, 2007. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Investment Risk and Aggregate Saving," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(1), pages 1-30, January.
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