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Current Account Imbalances; Can Structural Policies Make a Difference?

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  • Anna Ivanova

Abstract

The discussion of global and regional imbalances has put the spotlight on the possible link between current accounts and structural policies. Drawing on standard empirical current account models, the paper finds that the commonly recommended structural factors cannot explain the widening of imbalances prior to the 2008 - 09 crisis. That said, structural factors do help explain some part of long-standing cross-country differences in the current account levels. In particular, countries with stricter credit market regulation, higher taxes on businesses, lower minimum wage (in particular,in slow growing economies) and generous unemployment benefits tend to have higher current account balances than others.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Ivanova, 2012. "Current Account Imbalances; Can Structural Policies Make a Difference?," IMF Working Papers 12/61, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/61
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephane Guibaud & Keyu Jin & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2011. "Credit Constraints and Growth in a Global Economy," 2011 Meeting Papers 1040, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    5. Jiandong Ju & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Current Account Adjustment: Some New Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mike Kennedy & Torsten Sløk, 2006. "Are structural reforms the answer to global current account imbalances?," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2005(2), pages 47-73.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ruud de Mooij & Michael Keen, 2012. ""Fiscal Devaluation" and Fiscal Consolidation: The VAT in Troubled Times," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 443-485 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:pal:imfecr:v:65:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41308-016-0002-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2012. "A Germans� dilemma: save the euro or preserve their socio-economic model," Department of Economics Working Papers 1207, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    4. Bettendorf, Timo & León-Ledesma, Miguel A., 2015. "German wage moderation and European imbalances: Feeding the global VAR with theory," Discussion Papers 15/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Joong S Kang & Jay C Shambaugh, 2013. "The Evolution of Current Account Deficits in the Euro Area Periphery and the Baltics; Many Paths to the Same Endpoint," IMF Working Papers 13/169, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Philipp Engler & Giovanni Ganelli & Juha Tervala & Simon Voigts, 2017. "Fiscal Devaluation in a Monetary Union," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(2), pages 241-272, June.
    7. Patrice Ollivaud & Cyrille Schwellnus, 2013. "The Post-crisis Narrowing of International Imbalances: Cyclical or Durable?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1062, OECD Publishing.
    8. Joong S Kang & Jay C Shambaugh, 2014. "Progress Towards External Adjustment in the Euro Area Periphery and the Baltics," IMF Working Papers 14/131, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2013. "The German Model and the European Crisis," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 1023-1039, November.
    10. Thierry Tressel & Shengzu Wang, 2014. "Rebalancing in the Euro Area and Cyclicality of Current Account Adjustments," IMF Working Papers 14/130, International Monetary Fund.
    11. van Treeck, Till. & Sturn, Simon., 2012. "Income inequality as a cause of the Great Recession? : A survey of current debates," ILO Working Papers 994709343402676, International Labour Organization.
    12. Fabian Bornhorst & Ashoka Mody, 2012. "Tests of German Resilience," IMF Working Papers 12/239, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Bornhorst, Fabian & Mody, Ashoka, 2012. "Test of the German resilience," CFS Working Paper Series 2012/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    14. Giuseppe Caivano & Nicola D. Coniglio, 2016. "Long-Run Drivers of Current Account Imbalances in the EU: the Role of Trade Openness," SERIES 03-2016, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised May 2016.
    15. Steven T Phillips & Luis Catão & Luca A Ricci & Rudolfs Bems & Mitali Das & Julian Di Giovanni & Filiz D Unsal & Marola Castillo & Jungjin Lee & Jair Rodriguez & Mauricio Vargas, 2013. "The External Balance Assessment (EBA) Methodology," IMF Working Papers 13/272, International Monetary Fund.

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