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The End of Chimerica

  • Niall Ferguson

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit)

  • Moritz Schularick

    ()

    (Freie Universität Berlin)

For the better part of the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with US over-consumption. The financial crisis of 2007-2009 likely marks the beginning of the end of the Chimerican relationship. In this paper we look at this era as economic historians, trying to set events in a longer-term perspective. In some ways China's economic model in the decade 1998-2007 was similar to the one adopted by West Germany and Japan after World War II. Trade surpluses with the U.S. played a major role in propelling growth. But there were two key differences. First, the scale of Chinese currency intervention was without precedent, as were the resulting distortions of the world economy. Second, the Chinese have so far resisted the kind of currency appreciation to which West Germany and Japan consented. We conclude that Chimerica cannot persist for much longer in its present form. As in the 1970s, sizeable changes in exchange rates are needed to rebalance the world economy. A continuation of Chimerica at a time of dollar devaluation would give rise to new and dangerous distortions in the global economy.

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Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 10-037.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:10-037
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