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Understanding the Dynamics of the US External Position

This paper studies the dynamics of the U.S. external position for the past 35 years, and examines alternative paths for future external adjustment. We develop a new present value expression for the external position that embeds the restrictions of international solvency and can be easily empirically evaluated with time series methods. Our empirical model accounts for almost all the variations in the U.S. external position between 1973 and 2008. We estimate that most of the quarter-by-quarter changes in the U.S. external position over this period are due to news about future returns and trade flows, but over long horizons the changes reflect prior expectations about how the U.S. would meet its international financial obligations. Importantly, we identify the expectations embedded in the current U.S. external position that contain relevant information about the future adjustment paths. These expectations indicate that the half-lives for future adjustment paths towards U.S. external balance are at least 13 years and involve a significant real depreciation of the dollar.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~10-10-05.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~10-10-05
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/ Email:


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  4. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0606, CEPREMAP.
  5. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt124628cx, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
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  8. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1495-1530, November.
  9. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Philip R. Lane, 1999. "The External Wealth of Nations; Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities for Industrial and Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 99/115, International Monetary Fund.
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  11. Cedric Tille, 2003. "The impact of exchange rate movements on U.S. foreign debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Jan).
  12. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-border returns differentials," International Finance Discussion Papers 921, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Campbell, John Y. & Viceira, Luis M., 2002. "Strategic Asset Allocation: Portfolio Choice for Long-Term Investors," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296942, March.
  14. Carol C. Bertaut & Ralph W. Tryon, 2007. "Monthly estimates of U.S. cross-border securities positions," International Finance Discussion Papers 910, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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