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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. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
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  7. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  11. Campbell, J.Y. & Shiller, R.J., 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings And Expected Dividends," Papers 334, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  12. Marianne Baxter & Urban J. Jermann & Robert G. King, 1995. "Nontraded Goods, Nontraded Factors, and International Non-Diversification," NBER Working Papers 5175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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  16. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  17. 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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