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Macroeconomic Uncertainty, Precautionary Savings and the Current Account

  • Jonathan David Ostry
  • Atish R. Ghosh

The relationship between current account developments and changes in the macroeconomic environment remains a key issue in open economy macroeconomics. This paper extends the standard intertemporal optimizing model of the current account to incorporate the effects of macroeconomic uncertainty on private savings behavior. It is shown that the greater the uncertainty in national cash flow, defined as output less investment less government expenditure, the greater is the precautionary demand for savings and, other things equal, the larger is the current account surplus. Empirical support for the model is found using quarterly data from four large industrial countries.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 92/72.

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Length: 44
Date of creation: 01 Sep 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:92/72
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  1. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings and Expected Dividends," NBER Working Papers 2511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
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  4. Robert E. Hall, 1981. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Ghosh, Atish R, 1995. "International Capital Mobility amongst the Major Industrialised Countries: Too Little or Too Much?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 107-28, January.
  9. Sheffrin, S.M. & Woo, W.T., 1989. "Present Value Tests Of An Intertemporal Model Of The Current Account," Papers 61, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  10. Stephen Zeldes, . "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 20-86, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  11. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J. & King, Robert G., 1998. "Nontraded goods, nontraded factors, and international non-diversification," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 211-229, April.
  12. Frenkel, Jacob A & Razin, Assaf, 1987. "Fiscal Policies and the World Economy; An Intertemporal Approach (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987)," MPRA Paper 20438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Bollerslev, Tim & Engle, Robert F & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1988. "A Capital Asset Pricing Model with Time-Varying Covariances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 116-31, February.
  14. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
  15. Miller, Bruce L., 1976. "The effect on optimal consumption of increased uncertainty in labor income in the multiperiod case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 154-167, August.
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  17. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
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