IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Globalization and the Sustainability of Large Current Account Imbalances: Size Matters

  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Yi Sun

This paper evaluates the sustainability of large current account imbalances in the era when the Chinese GDP growth rate and current account/GDP exceed 10%. We investigate the size distribution and the durability of current account deficits during 1966-2005, and report the results of a simulation that relies on the adding-up property of global current account balances. Excluding the US, we find that size does matter: the length of current account deficit spells is negatively related to the relative size of the countries' GDP. We conclude that the continuation of the fast growth rate of China, while maintaining its large current account/GPD surpluses, would be constrained by the limited sustainability of the larger current account deficits/GDP of countries that grow at a much slower rate. Consequently, short of the emergence of a new "demander of last resort," the Chinese growth path would be challenged by its own success.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13734.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Aizenman, Joshua & Sun, Yi, 2010. "Globalization and the sustainability of large current account imbalances: Size matters," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 35-44, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13734
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2013. "Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Allocation Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1484-1515.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
  3. Sebastian Edwards, 2007. "On Current Account Surpluses and the Correction of Global Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 12904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of Global Imbalances and Low Interest Rates," 2006 Meeting Papers 894, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Joshua Aizenman & Brian Pinto & Artur Radziwill, 2004. "Sources for Financing Domestic Capital -- Is Foreign Saving a Viable Option for Developing Countries?," NBER Working Papers 10624, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  7. repec:rus:hseeco:317881 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International reserves: precautionary versus mercantilist views, theory and evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Richard N. Cooper, 2005. "Living with Global Imbalances: A Contrarian View," Policy Briefs PB05-03, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  10. Prasad, Eswar & Rajan, Raghuram G. & Subramanian, Arvind, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 3186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Carroll, Christopher D. & Weil, David N., 1994. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 133-192, June.
  12. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Ju, Jiandong & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "Domestic Institutions and the Bypass Effect of Financial Globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 6343, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Romain Ranciere & Olivier Jeanne, 2006. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries: Formulas and Applications," IMF Working Papers 06/229, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Olivier Jeanne, 2007. "International Reserves in Emerging Market Countries: Too Much of a Good Thing?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 1-80.
  16. Olivier Blanchard, 2007. "Current Account Deficits in Rich Countries," NBER Working Papers 12925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jaewoo Lee & Joshua Aizenman, 2006. "Financial Versus Monetary Mercantilism: Long-Run View of Large International Reserves Hoarding," IMF Working Papers 06/280, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2005. "Current Account Balances, Financial Development and Institutions: Assaying the World "Savings Glut"," NBER Working Papers 11761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The revived Bretton Woods system," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 307-313.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Robert C. Feenstra & Chang Hong, 2010. "China's Exports and Employment," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13734. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.