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A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances

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  • Qingyuan Du
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Large savings and current account surpluses by China and other countries are said to be a contributor to the global current account imbalances and possibly to the recent global financial crisis. This paper proposes a theory of excess savings based on a major, albeit insufficiently recognized by macroeconomists, transformation in many of these societies, namely, a steady increase in the surplus of men relative to women. We construct an OLG model with two sexes and a desire to marry. We show conditions under which an intensified competition in the marriage market can induce men to raise their savings rate, and produce a rise in the aggregate savings and current account surplus. This effect is economically significant if the biological desire to have a partner of the opposite sex is strong. A calibration of the model suggests that this factor could generate economically significant current account responses, or more than 1/2 of the actual current account imbalances observed in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 16000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16000
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2016. "A Darwinian perspective on “exchange rate undervaluation”," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 111-138.
    3. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Qian, XingWang, 2012. "Are Chinese trade flows different?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2127-2146.
    4. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
    5. Samuel Cudré & Mathias Hoffmann, 2017. "A provincial view of global imbalances: regional capital flows in China," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(3), pages 573-599, August.
    6. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 2012. "A Computable OLG Model for Gender and Growth Policy Analysis," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 169, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    7. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ito, Hiro & Volz, Ulrich, 2012. "The People’s Republic of China and Global Imbalances from a View of Sectorial Reforms," ADBI Working Papers 393, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    9. repec:eee:chieco:v:47:y:2018:i:c:p:27-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Philip Levy, 2011. "The United States and the PRC : Macroeconomic Imbalances and Economic Diplomacy," Macroeconomics Working Papers 23208, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    11. Samuel Cudré, 2014. "Capital’s long march west: saving and investment frictions in Chinese regions," ECON - Working Papers 161, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    12. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2014. "On gender and growth: The role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 132-147.
    13. Stiglitz Joseph E & Greenwald Bruce, 2010. "Towards A New Global Reserve System," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-26, December.
    14. Nikolai Roussanov & Pavel G. Savor, 2012. "Status, Marriage, and Managers' Attitudes To Risk," NBER Working Papers 17904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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