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Fear and Market Failure: Global Imbalances and “Self-Insurance”

  • Marcus Miller
  • Lei Zhang

This paper proposes an integrated framework to analyze jointly two key issues: the emergence of global imbalances and the precautionary motive for accumulating reserves. Standard models of general equilibrium would predict modest current account surpluses in the emerging markets if they face higher risk than the US itself. But, with pronounced Loss Aversion in emerging markets, their precautionary savings can generate substantial “global imbalances,” especially if there is an inefficient supply of global “insurance. ” In principle, lower real interest rates will ensure that aggregate demand equals supply at a global level (though the required real interest may be negative). While a precautionary savings glut appears to be a temporary phenomenon, a process of correction triggered by a “Sudden Stop” in capital flows to the United States might lead to a “hard landing. ”

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4498.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4498
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  1. Caballero, Ricardo J & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7xc0g8mm, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  16. Miller, Marcus & Castrén, Olli & Zhang, Lei, 2005. "Capital flows and the US ‘New Economy’: consumption smoothing and risk exposure," Working Paper Series 0459, European Central Bank.
  17. Stephany Griffith-Jones & Krishnan Sharma, 2006. "GDP-Indexed Bonds: Making It Happen," Working Papers 21, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  18. E. Kohlscheen & M. P. Taylor, 2008. "International liquidity swaps: is the Chiang Mai Initiative pooling reserves efficiently?," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 323-332.
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