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The U.S. Current Account Deficit: Gradual Correction or Abrupt Adjustment?

  • Sebastian Edwards

In this paper I use a large multi-country data set to analyze the determinants of abrupt and large %u201Ccurrent account reversals.%u201D The results from a variance-component probit model indicate that the probability of experiencing a major current account reversal is positively affected by larger current account deficits, lower prices of exports relative to imports, and expansive monetary policies. On the other hand, this probability is lower for more advanced countries, and for countries with flexible exchange rates. An analysis of the marginal effects of current account deficits and of the predicted probability of reversal indicates that both have increased significantly for the U.S. since 1999. However, the level of this probability is still on the low side. I estimate that the predicted probability of a current account reversal in the U.S. has increased from 1.7% in 1999, to 14.9% in 2006.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12154.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Publication status: published as Edwards, Sebastian, 2006. "The U.S. current account deficit: Gradual correction or abrupt adjustment?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 629-643, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12154
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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S, 2005. "The Unsustainable US Current Account Position Revisited," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4f63x50j, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Corden, W. Max, 1994. "Economic Policy, Exchange Rates, and the International System," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774099, December.
  3. Cavallo, Eduardo A. & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2008. "Does openness to trade make countries more vulnerable to sudden stops, or less? Using gravity to establish causality," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1430-1452, December.
  4. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Christopher Telmer, 2009. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," NBER Working Papers 15525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Razin, Assaf, 1998. "Current Account Reversals and Currency Crises: Empirical Regularities," CEPR Discussion Papers 1921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi & Filipa Sa, 2005. "The U.S. Current Account and the Dollar," NBER Working Papers 11137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "THE EXTERNAL WEALTH OF NATIONS: Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities For Industrial and Developing Countries," Trinity Economics Papers 20014, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  9. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Luis Fernando Mejía, 2004. "On the Empirics of Sudden Stops: The Relevance of Balance-Sheet Effects," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6516, Inter-American Development Bank.
  10. Michael P. Dooley & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2003. "Managing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dool03-1, June.
  11. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? And If Not, How Costly is Adjustment Likely To Be?," NBER Working Papers 11541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Sebastian Edwards & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2002. "Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa02-2, June.
  13. Sebastian Edwards, 2001. "Does the Current Account Matter?," NBER Working Papers 8275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Hilary Croke & Steven B. Kamin & Sylvain Leduc, 2005. "Financial market developments and economic activity during current account adjustments in industrial economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 827, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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