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After the Crisis; Lower Consumption Growth But Narrower Global Imbalances?

  • Franziska Ohnsorge
  • Ashoka Mody

We estimate consumption dynamics in the G-7 economies, paying particular attention to the possibility of precautionary behavior in the face of uncertainty. We find that in the short run, continued income uncertainty will significantly dampen consumption growth. As such, consumption in the G-7 economies is unlikely to be the engine that revives global growth. Differences in the pace and timing of consumption moderation have implications for the evolution of global imbalances. With the U.S. experiencing a sharper rise in unemployment and, perhaps, more widespread loss of financial wealth than elsewhere in the G-7, the relative rise of the U.S. savings rate is helping narrow global imbalances. But with a likely earlier recovery in the U.S., this narrowing could be short-lived. Moreover, long-term differences- in economic and financial volatility and in demographic structures-have been an important source of the imbalances and could soon reassert their prominence.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/11.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/11
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  1. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2005. "Understanding Changes In International Business Cycle Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(5), pages 968-1006, 09.
  2. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
  3. Reuven Glick & Kevin J. Lansing, 2009. "U.S. household deleveraging and future consumption growth," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue may15.
  4. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  5. Martin S. Feldstein, 2008. "Resolving the Global Imbalance: The Dollar and the U.S. Saving Rate," NBER Working Papers 13952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert J. Barro & José F. Ursúa, 2008. "Macroeconomic Crises since 1870," NBER Working Papers 13940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jiri Slacalek, 2006. "What Drives Personal Consumption?: The Role of Housing and Financial Wealth," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 647, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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