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External Adjustment and the Global Crisis

  • Philip R. Lane
  • Gian Maria Milesi Ferretti

The period preceding the global financial crisis was characterized by a substantial widening of current account imbalances across the world. Since the onset of the crisis, these imbalances have contracted to a significant extent. In this paper, we analyze the ongoing process of external adjustment in advanced economies and emerging markets. We find that countries whose pre-crisis current account balances were in excess of what could be explained by standard economic fundamentals have experienced the largest contractions in their external balance. We subsequently examine the contributions of real exchange rates, domestic demand and domestic output to the adjustment process (allowing for differences across exchange rate regimes) and find that external adjustment in deficit countries was achieved primarily through demand compression, rather than expenditure switching. Finally, we show that changes in other investment flows were the main channel of financial account adjustment, with official external assistance and ECB liquidity cushioning the exit of private capital flows for some countries.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17352.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: published as Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2012. "External adjustment and the global crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 252-265.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17352
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  1. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2009. "Current account patterns and national real estate markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 75-89, September.
  2. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Assaf Razin, 1998. "Current Account Reversals and Currency Crisis; Empirical Regularities," IMF Working Papers 98/89, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Caroline Freund & Frank Warnock, 2005. "Current Account Deficits in Industrial Countries: The Bigger They are, the Harder They Fall?," NBER Working Papers 11823, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2001. "Long-Term Capital Movements," CEPR Discussion Papers 2873, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2002. "Long-Term Capital Movements," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 73-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Olivier J. Blanchard, 2009. "Global Imbalances; In Midstream?," IMF Staff Position Notes 2009/29, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Morten Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2004. "Deep Habits," NBER Working Papers 10261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Cedric Tille, 2011. "The Great Retrenchment: International Capital Flows During the Global Financial Crisis," Working Papers 382011, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2005. "The unsustainable U.S. current account position revisited," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. David Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The S-Curve," NBER Working Papers 4242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Barry Eichengreen & Muge Adalet, 2005. "Current Account Reversals: Always a Problem?," NBER Working Papers 11634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Richard H. Clarida, 2006. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 12194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bénétrix, Agustín & Lane, Philip R., 2010. "International Differences in Fiscal Policy During the Global Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 8009, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2007. "Europe and global imbalances," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 519-573, 07.
  15. Forbes, Kristin J. & Warnock, Francis E., 2012. "Capital flow waves: Surges, stops, flight, and retrenchment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 235-251.
  16. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2010. "Sudden Stops, Financial Crises, and Leverage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1941-66, December.
  17. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2010. "The Cross-Country Incidence of the Global Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 7954, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Ruo Chen & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Thierry Tressel, 2012. "External Imbalances in the Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 12/236, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Chinn, Menzie D. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2003. "Medium-term determinants of current accounts in industrial and developing countries: an empirical exploration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 47-76, January.
  20. 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.
  21. Gianluca Benigno & Christoph Thoenissen, 2002. "Equilibrium exchange rates and supply-side performance," Bank of England working papers 156, Bank of England.
  22. Olivier J. Blanchard & Mitali Das & Hamid Faruqee, 2010. "The Initial Impact of the Crisis on Emerging Market Countries," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 263-323.
  23. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226454627 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "Fiscal Policy and the Current Account," IMF Working Papers 10/121, International Monetary Fund.
  25. Menzie D. Chinn & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "A Faith-based Initiative: Does a Flexible Exchange Rate Regime Really Facilitate Current Account Adjustment?," Working Papers 122009, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  26. Gruber, Joseph W. & Kamin, Steven B., 2007. "Explaining the global pattern of current account imbalances," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 500-522, June.
  27. Joseph E. Gagnon, 2011. "Current Account Imbalances Coming Back," Working Paper Series WP11-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  28. Atish R. Ghosh & Jonathan David Ostry & Charalambos G. Tsangarides, 2011. "Exchange Rate Regimes and the Stability of the International Monetary System," IMF Occasional Papers 270, International Monetary Fund.
  29. Jaewoo Lee & Jonathan David Ostry & Alessandro Prati & Luca Antonio Ricci & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "Exchange Rate Assessments; CGER Methodologies," IMF Occasional Papers 261, International Monetary Fund.
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