IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do differences in financial development explain the global pattern of current account imbalances?

  • Joseph W. Gruber
  • Steven B. Kamin
Registered author(s):

    This paper addresses the popular view that differences in financial development explain the pattern of global current account imbalances. One strain of thinking explains the net flow of capital from developing to industrial economies on the basis of the industrial economies' more advanced financial systems and correspondingly more attractive assets. A related view addresses why the United States has attracted the lion's share of capital flows from developing to industrial economies; it stresses the exceptional depth, breadth, and safety of U.S. financial markets. ; In this paper we empirically test these hypotheses. Building on Chinn and Prasad (2003) and Gruber and Kamin (2007), we assess econometrically whether different measures of financial development explain the net flow of capital from developing to industrial economies, as well as the concentration of those flows toward the United States. We also assess whether differences in asset returns, an alternative measure of the attractiveness of financial assets, can explain the international pattern of capital flows. ; We find little evidence that differences in financial development help to explain the global pattern of current account imbalances. The measures of financial development generally do not explain either the net flow of capital from developing to industrial economies or, more specifically, the large U.S. current account deficits. Lower bond yields have been generally associated with lower current account balances (e.g., larger deficits) in industrial countries. However, U.S. bond yields have not been significantly lower than in other industrial economies, nor have expected equity earnings yields. This suggests, contrary to conventional wisdom, that U.S. financial assets have not been demonstrably more attractive than those of other industrial economies, and hence cannot explain the large U.S. deficit. ; Finally, we consider the alternative but related hypothesis that spending in the United States was uniquely responsive to the lower cost of credit stemming from capital inflows from developing countries, thus accounting for the outsized U.S. deficit. However, we found this hypothesis also to be weak, as household saving rates have declined throughout the industrial economies, not just in the United States.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2008/923/default.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2008/923/ifdp923.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 923.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:923
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551
    Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/order.htm

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    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. Michel Normandin & Martin Boileau, 2003. "Dynamics of the Current Account and Interest Differentials," Cahiers de recherche 03-05, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    3. Eswar S. Prasad & Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 153-230.
    4. Hiro Ito & Menzie Chinn, 2009. "East Asia and Global Imbalances: Saving, Investment, and Financial Development," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Sector Development in the Pacific Rim, East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 18, pages 117-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Richard N. Cooper, 2005. "Living with Global Imbalances: A Contrarian View," Policy Briefs PB05-03, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    6. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2007. "Financial Integration, Financial Deepness and Global Imbalance," 2007 Meeting Papers 746, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Ravi Balakrishnan & Volodymyr Tulin & Tamim Bayoumi, 2007. "Globalization, Gluts, innovation or Irrationality; What Explains the Easy Financing of the U.S. Current Account Deficit?," IMF Working Papers 07/160, International Monetary Fund.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:sep11 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Shang-Jin Wei & Jiandong Ju, 2006. "A Solution to Two Paradoxes of International Capital Flow," IMF Working Papers 06/178, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Jiandong Ju & Shang-Jin Wei, 2006. "A Solution to Two Paradoxes of International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 12668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ravi Balakrishnan & Volodymyr Tulin, 2006. "U.S. Dollar Risk Premiums and Capital Flows," IMF Working Papers 06/160, International Monetary Fund.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:923. 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: (Kris Vajs)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.