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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. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An equilibrum model of "global imbalances" and low interest rates," BIS Working Papers 222, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves; Precautionary vs. Mercantilist Views, Theory, and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 05/198, International Monetary Fund.
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  4. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Chris Telmer, 2005. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," 2005 Meeting Papers 115, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  7. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  8. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Philip R. Lane, 2005. "Financial Globalization and Exchange Rates," IMF Working Papers 05/3, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Ricardo Hausmann and Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global imbalances or bad accounting? The missing dark matter in the wealth of nations," Business School Working Papers globalimbal, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  11. David K. Backus & Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2005. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 319-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Christopher M. Meissner & Alan M. Taylor, 2006. "Losing our Marbles in the New Century? The Great Rebalancing in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 12580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Driffill, John & Snell, Andrew, 2003. " What Moves OECD Real Interest Rates?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 375-402, June.
  14. 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.
  15. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 11-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The revived Bretton Woods system," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 307-313.
  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. Michael Dooley & Peter Garber, 2005. "The cosmic risk: an essay on global imbalances and treasuries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
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