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On returns differentials

Listed author(s):
  • Stephanie E. Curcuru
  • Charles P. Thomas
  • Francis E. Warnock

Estimates of U.S. returns differentials have ranged from exorbitant to quite small, in part because of their volatility coupled with the relatively short time series available. We shed light on underlying drivers of returns differentials by presenting a number of decompositions: a by-asset-class decomposition into yields and capital gains, the Gourinchas and Rey (2007a) composition and return effects, and further decompositions of capital gains that focus on exchange rate effects. While each decomposition informs thinking about returns differentials, one constant is evident throughout: to date the existing differential favoring the U.S. has owed primarily to one factor, a differential in direct investment yields. We discuss how our analysis informs the income puzzle (of positive net income flows to the U.S. even as its net international investment position is negative and substantial) and the position puzzle (of a sizeable gap between the reported U.S. net international position and cumulated current account deficits), provide an initial assessment of the literature on the dynamics of returns differentials, and present a framework to guide a forward-looking view of how returns differentials might evolve in the future.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 1077.

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Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1077
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  1. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "International Financial Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 665-703, 08.
  2. Habib, Maurizio Michael, 2010. "Excess returns on net foreign assets: the exorbitant privilege from a global perspective," Working Paper Series 1158, European Central Bank.
  3. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 2007. "Returns on FDI: Does the U.S. Really Do Better?," NBER Working Papers 13313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2007. "A Global Perspective on External Positions," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 67-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Christopher M. Meissner & Alan M. Taylor, 2006. "Losing our Marbles in the New Century? The Great Rebalancing in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 12580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jose L. Fillat & Stefania Garetto, 2014. "Risk, Returns, and Multinational Production," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2014-008, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  7. Curcuru, Stephanie E. & Dvorak, Tomas & Warnock, Francis E., 2007. "Cross-border returns differentials," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 04, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  8. Hausmann, Ricardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2006. "Global Imbalances or Bad Accounting? The Missing Dark Matter in the Wealth of Nations," Working Paper Series rwp06-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2009. "Financial Integration, Financial Development, and Global Imbalances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 371-416, 06.
  10. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Decomposing the U.S. external returns differential," International Finance Discussion Papers 977, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2005. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Working Papers 11563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2008. "Where Did All The Borrowing Go? A Forensic Analysis of the U.S. External Position," CEPR Discussion Papers 6655, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Kristin J. Forbes, 2008. "Why do foreigners invest in the United States?," Working Paper Series 2008-27, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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  17. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2009. "Financial Globalization, Financial Crises and Contagion," NBER Working Papers 15432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Helene Rey & Nicolas Govillot, 2010. "Exorbitant Privilege and Exorbitant Duty," IMES Discussion Paper Series 10-E-20, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  19. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Current Account Sustainability and Relative Reliability," NBER Working Papers 14295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2005. "Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 67-146.
  21. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Taxes, Leverage and the National Return on Outbound Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 4689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Obstfeld, Maurice, 2012. "Does the Current Account Still Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Harry Grubert & Timothy Goodspeed & Deborah L. Swenson, 1993. "Explaining the Low Taxable Income of Foreign-Controlled Companies in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 237-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
  26. Ellen R McGrattan & Edward C Prescott, 2008. "Technology Capital and the U.S. Current Account," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001827, UCLA Department of Economics.
  27. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "The demand for tax haven operations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 513-531, February.
  28. Nguyen, Ha, 2011. "Valuation effects with transitory and trend productivity shocks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 245-255.
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