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Capital Flows, Consumption Booms and Asset Bubbles: A Behavioural Alternative to the Savings Glut Hypothesis

  • David Laibson
  • Johanna Mollerstrom

Bernanke (2005) hypothesized that a "global savings glut" was causing large trade imbalances. However, we show that the global savings rates did not show a robust upward trend during the relevant period. Moreover, if there had been a global savings glut there should have been a large investment boom in the countries that imported capital. Instead, those countries experienced consumption booms. National asset bubbles explain the international imbalances. The bubbles raised consumption, resulting in large trade deficits. In a sample of 18 OECD countries plus China, movements in home prices alone explain half of the variation in trade deficits.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15759.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Publication status: published as David Laibson & Johanna Mollerstrom, 2010. "Capital Flows, Consumption Booms and Asset Bubbles: A Behavioural Alternative to the Savings Glut Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 354-374, 05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15759
Note: AP EFG IFM ITI ME
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  1. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2006. "Bubbles and capital flow volatility: Causes and risk management," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 35-53, January.
  2. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990. "World Real Interest Rates," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 15-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2004. "When Can Changes in Expectations Cause Business Cycle Fluctuations in Neo-Classical Settings?," IDEI Working Papers 304, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Albert Saiz, 2008. "Housing Supply and Housing Bubbles," NBER Working Papers 14193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alan Greenspan & James Kennedy, 2008. "Sources and uses of equity extracted from homes," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 120-144, spring.
  6. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2008. "Current Account Patterns and National Real Estate Markets," NBER Working Papers 13921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  8. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Scholarly Articles 3229094, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
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