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Can Global Imbalances Continue?: Policies for the U.S. Economy

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  • Dimitri B. Papadimitriou
  • Gennaro Zezza
  • Greg Hannsgen

Abstract

In this new Strategic Analysis, we review what we believe is the most important economic policy issue facing policymakers in the United States and abroad: the prospect of a growth recession in the United States, linked to the imbalances in the U.S. current account, government, and private sector deficits. The current account balance, which is a negative addition to U.S. aggregate demand, is now likely to be above 6.5 percent of GDP and has been rising steadily for some time. The government balance has improved, again giving no stimulus to demand, which has therefore relied entirely on a large and growing private sector deficit. A rapidly cooling housing market is one of the signs showing that this growth path is likely to break down. We focus first on the current account deficit. Our analysis suggests that a necessary and sufficient condition to address this problem, without dire consequences for unemployment and growth, is that net export demand grow by a sufficient amount. For this to happen, three conditions need to be satisfied: foreign saving has to fall, especially in Europe and East Asia; U.S. saving has to rise; and some mechanism, such as a change in relative prices, should be put in place to help the previous two phenomena translate into an improvement in the U.S. balance of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Gennaro Zezza & Greg Hannsgen, 2006. "Can Global Imbalances Continue?: Policies for the U.S. Economy," Economics Strategic Analysis Archive sa_nov_06, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:levysa:sa_nov_06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 358-393, March.
    2. Richard H. Clarida & Manuela Goretti & Mark P. Taylor, 2007. "Are There Thresholds of Current Account Adjustment in the G7?," NBER Chapters,in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 169-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & L. Randall Wray, 2007. "The April AMT Shock: Tax Reform Advice for the New Majority," Economics Policy Note Archive 07-1, Levy Economics Institute.
    2. Jorg Bibow, 2006. "Global Imbalances, Bretton Woods II, and Euroland's Role in All This," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_486, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Jonathan Eaton & Robert Dekle & Samuel Kortum, 2007. "Unbalanced Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 351-355, May.
    4. Eugenio Caverzasi & Antoine Godin, 2013. "Stock-flow Consistent Modeling through the Ages," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_745, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Greg Hannsgen & Gennaro Zezza, 2007. "Cracks in the Foundations of Growth: What Will the Housing Debacle Mean for the U.S. Economy?," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_90, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & Greg Hannsgen & Gennaro Zezza, 2007. "The Effects of a Declining Housing Market on the U.S. Economy," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_506, Levy Economics Institute.

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