IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgif/846.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Explaining the global pattern of current account imbalances

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph W. Gruber
  • Steven B. Kamin

Abstract

This paper assesses some of the explanations that have been put forward for the global pattern of current account imbalances that has emerged in recent years: in particular, the large U.S. current account deficit and the large surpluses of the Asian developing economies. Based on the approach developed by Chinn and Prasad (2003), we use data for 61 countries during 1982-2003 to estimate panel regression models for the ratio of the current account balance to GDP. We find that a model that includes as its explanatory variables the standard determinants of current accounts proposed in the literature-–per capita income, relative growth rates, the fiscal balance, demographic variables, and economic openness-–can account for neither the large U.S. deficit nor large Asian surpluses of the 1997-2003 period. However, when we include a variable representing financial crises, which might be expected to restrain domestic demand and boost the current account balance, the model explains much of developing Asia’s swing into surplus since 1997. Even so, the model cannot explain why the capital outflows associated with Asia’s current account surpluses were channeled primarily into the U.S. economy. Observers have pointed to strong growth performance and a favorable institutional environment as elements attracting foreign investment into the United States, and we found strong evidence that good performance in these areas significantly reduces the current account balance. While a model incorporating these factors still fails to predict the large U.S. current account deficit (and, in fact, predicts a slight surplus), it does predict a U.S. current account balance that is relatively weaker than the aggregate balance of developing Asia.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph W. Gruber & Steven B. Kamin, 2005. "Explaining the global pattern of current account imbalances," International Finance Discussion Papers 846, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:846
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2005/846/default.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2005/846/ifdp846.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chinn, Menzie D. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2003. "Medium-term determinants of current accounts in industrial and developing countries: an empirical exploration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 47-76, January.
    2. Graciela Kaminsky & Saul Lizondo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 1-48, March.
    3. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? And If Not, How Costly is Adjustment Likely To Be?," NBER Working Papers 11541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2001. "The external wealth of nations: measures of foreign assets and liabilities for industrial and developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 263-294, December.
    5. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher J. Gust, 2005. "Expansionary fiscal shocks and the trade deficit," International Finance Discussion Papers 825, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Glick, Reuven & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Global versus country-specific productivity shocks and the current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 159-192, February.
    7. Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2007. "Current account balances, financial development and institutions: Assaying the world "saving glut"," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 546-569, June.
    8. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter M. Garber, 2005. "An essay on the revived Bretton Woods system," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
    9. Steven B. Kamin, 2005. "The revived Bretton Woods system: does it explain developments in non-China developing Asia?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
    10. Menzie D. Chinn, 2004. "Incomes, Exchange Rates and the US Trade Deficit, Once Again," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 451-469, December.
    11. Catherine L. Mann, 1999. "Is the U.S. Trade Deficit Sustainable?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 47.
    12. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2002. "Current Account Deficits in the Euro Area: The End of the Feldstein Horioka Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 147-210.
    13. Edwin M. Truman, 2005. "Budget and external deficits: not twins but the same family," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
    14. Gruber, Joseph W., 2004. "A present value test of habits and the current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1495-1507, October.
    15. Ahearne, Alan G. & Griever, William L. & Warnock, Francis E., 2004. "Information costs and home bias: an analysis of US holdings of foreign equities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 313-336, March.
    16. Fratzscher, Marcel & Müller, Gernot J. & Bussière, Matthieu, 2004. "Current accounts dynamics in OECD and EU acceding countries - an intertemporal approach," Working Paper Series 311, European Central Bank.
    17. William R. Cline, 2005. "United States as a Debtor Nation, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3993.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2014. "Trading Up to High Income : Turkey Country Economic Memorandum," World Bank Other Operational Studies 19320, The World Bank.
    2. Ca’ Zorzi, Michele & Chudik, Alexander & Dieppe, Alistair, 2012. "Thousands of models, one story: Current account imbalances in the global economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1319-1338.
    3. Juan Carlos Cuestas & Paulo José Regis, 2013. "On the Relationship Between Exchange Rates and External Imbalances: East and Southeast Asia," Working Papers 2013015, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    4. Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2007. "Current account balances, financial development and institutions: Assaying the world "saving glut"," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 546-569, June.
    5. Rajmund Mirdala, 2013. "Fiscal Imbalances and Current Account Adjustments in the European Transition Economies," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1065, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. Slavov, Slavi T., 2009. "Do common currencies facilitate the net flow of capital among countries?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 124-144, August.
    7. Célestin Monga, 2012. "The Hegelian dialectics of global imbalances," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 6(1), November.
    8. José García-Solanes & Jesús Rodríguez-López & José Torres, 2011. "Demand Shocks and Trade Balance Dynamics," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 739-766, September.
    9. Juan Carlos Cuestas & Paulo Jose Regis, 2016. "On the Relationship Between Exchange Rates and External Imbalances: Should we Learn from East and South-east Asia?," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 17(2), pages 255-280, November.
    10. Sabine Herrmann & Adalbert Winkler, 2009. "Financial markets and the current account: emerging Europe versus emerging Asia," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 145(3), pages 531-550, October.
    11. Müller, Gernot J., 2008. "Understanding the dynamic effects of government spending on foreign trade," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 345-371, April.
    12. Herrmann, Sabine & Winkler, Adalbert, 2009. "Real convergence, financial markets, and the current account - Emerging Europe versus emerging Asia," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 100-123, August.
    13. Daniel Leigh & Abdul d Abiad & Ashoka Mody, 2007. "International Finance and Income Convergence; Europe is Different," IMF Working Papers 07/64, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Döhrn, Roland & Brüstle, Alena & Middendorf, Torge & Schmidt, Torsten, 2006. "Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung im Ausland: Nachlassende Expansion," RWI Konjunkturberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, vol. 57(2), pages 83-108.
    15. Barry Eichengreen, 2009. "The Blind Men and the Elephant," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(53-54), pages 25-57, January -.
    16. Eichengreen, Barry, 2006. "Global Imbalances and the Asian Economies: Implications for Regional Cooperation," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 4, Asian Development Bank.
    17. Ravi Balakrishnan & Volodymyr Tulin, 2006. "U.S. Dollar Risk Premiums and Capital Flows," IMF Working Papers 06/160, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Sebastian Edwards, 2007. "On Current Account Surpluses and the Correction of Global Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 12904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Rodrigo Valdés P. & Kevin Cowan L. & Sebastián Edwards F., 2007. "Current Account and External Financing," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 10(3), pages 5-18, December.
    20. Choi, Horag & Mark, Nelson C. & Sul, Donggyu, 2008. "Endogenous discounting, the world saving glut and the U.S. current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 30-53, May.
    21. Gruber, Joseph W. & Kamin, Steven B., 2007. "Explaining the global pattern of current account imbalances," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 500-522, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Balance of payments ; Capital movements ; International finance;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:846. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Franz Osorio). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.