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Global current account adjustment: a decomposition

  • Michael B. Devereux
  • Amartya Lahiri
  • Ke Pang

The rising current account deficit in the USA has attracted considerable attention in recent years. We use the "business cycle accounting" methodology to identify the principal distortions that have affected the external accounts of the US. In particular, we measure distortions in the optimality conditions of a simple two-country general equilibrium model using data from the US and the other G7 countries. We then feed these measured distortions into the model individually and use the simulated counterfactual paths of the current account to determine the contribution of each of these "wedges" to the overall external imbalance of the USA. We find that no single wedge in isolation can account closely for the observed current account. However, a combination of productivity differences and deviations from risk-sharing between the US and the rest of the G7 does the best job in accounting for most of the measured movement of the US current account.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006-40.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2006-40
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  1. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "New Deal policies and the persistence of the Great Depression: a general equilibrium analysis," Working Papers 597, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
  3. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Scholarly Articles 3229094, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Amartya Lahiri & Kei-Mu Yi, 2005. "A Tale of Two States," 2005 Meeting Papers 132, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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