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The Dot-Com Bubble the Bush Deficits, and the U.S. Current Account

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  • Aart Kraay
  • Jaume Ventura

Abstract

Over the past decade the US has experienced widening current account deficits and a steady deterioration of its net foreign asset position. During the second half of the 1990s, this deterioration was fueled by foreign investment in a booming US stock market. During the first half of the 2000s, this deterioration has been fuelled by foreign purchases of rapidly increasing US government debt. A somewhat surprising aspect of the current debate is that stock market movements and fiscal policy choices have been largely treated as unrelated events. Stock market movements are usually interpreted as reflecting exogenous changes in perceived or real productivity, while budget deficits are usually understood as a mainly political decision. We challenge this view here and develop two alternative interpretations. Both are based on the notion that a bubble the 'dot-com' bubble) has been driving the stock market, but differ in their assumptions about the interactions between this bubble and fiscal policy (the 'Bush' deficits). The 'benevolent' view holds that a change in investor sentiment led to the collapse of the dot-com bubble and the Bush deficits were a welfare-improving policy response to this event. The 'cynical' view holds instead that the Bush deficits led to the collapse of the dot-com bubble as the new administration tried to appropriate rents from foreign investors. We discuss the implications of each of these views for the future evolution of the US economy and, in particular, its net foreign asset position.

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  • Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2005. "The Dot-Com Bubble the Bush Deficits, and the U.S. Current Account," NBER Working Papers 11543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11543 Note: EFG IFM PE
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    Cited by:

    1. Angeletos, George-Marios & Panousi, Vasia, 2011. "Financial integration, entrepreneurial risk and global dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 863-896, May.
    2. Ventura, Jaume, 2012. "Bubbles and capital flows," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 738-758.
    3. Kuralbayeva, Karlygash & Vines, David, 2009. "The process by which the Dollar will fall: the effect of forward-looking consumers," CEPR Discussion Papers 7325, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Fabrice Collard & Sujoy Mukerji & Kevin Sheppard & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2011. "Ambiguity and the historical equity premium," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11032, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    5. Alberto Martin & Jaume Ventura, 2011. "Theoretical Notes on Bubbles and the Current Crisis," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(1), pages 6-40, April.
    6. Alberto Martin & Jaume Ventura, 2012. "Economic Growth with Bubbles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 3033-3058, October.
    7. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H., 2006. "The U.S. current account deficit and the expected share of world output," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 1063-1093, July.
    8. Fratzscher, Marcel & Juvenal, Luciana & Sarno, Lucio, 2010. "Asset prices, exchange rates and the current account," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 643-658, July.
    9. Martin, Alberto & Ventura, Jaume, 2015. "The international transmission of credit bubbles: Theory and policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(S), pages 37-56.
    10. George-Marios Angeletos & Vasia Panousi, 2011. "Financial Integration, Entrepreneurial Risk and Global Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 16761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Seppo Honkapohja & John Kay & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2006. "Chapter 2: Global Imbalances," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 50-67, March.
    12. Tim Oliver Berg, 2013. "Cross-country evidence on the relation between stock prices and the current account," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(16), pages 2267-2277, June.
    13. Bems, Rudolfs & Dedola, Luca & Smets, Frank, 2007. "US imbalances: The role of technology and policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 523-545, June.
    14. Panousi, Vasia, 2009. "Financial Integration and Capital Accumulation," MPRA Paper 24238, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Fratzscher, Marcel & Straub, Roland, 2010. "Asset Prices, News Shocks and the Current Account," CEPR Discussion Papers 8080, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Marcel Fratzscher & Roland Straub, 2009. "Asset Prices and Current Account Fluctuations in G-7 Economies," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(3), pages 633-654, August.
    17. Atrayee Ghosh Roy & Hendrik Van den Berg, 2009. "Budget deficits and U.S. economic growth," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(4), pages 3015-3030.
    18. Charles Engel, 2005. "The US Current Account Deficit: A Re-examination of the Role of Private Saving," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2005-09, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    19. Mthuli Ncube & Eliphas Ndou, 2013. "Working Paper 169 - Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Shocks on South African Trade Balance," Working Paper Series 448, African Development Bank.
    20. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Serven, Luis, 2009. "Are all the sacred cows dead ? implications of the financial crisis for macro and financial policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4807, The World Bank.
    21. Luis Servén & Ha Nguyen, 2013. "Global Imbalances: Origins and Prospects," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 28(2), pages 191-219, August.
    22. Chen Kuo, 2013. "Is the liberalization policy effective on improving bivariate cointegration of current accounts, foreign exchange, stock prices? Further evidence from Asian markets," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 1923-1941, June.
    23. Basco, Sergi, 2014. "Globalization and financial development: A model of the Dot-Com and the Housing Bubbles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 78-94.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

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