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Implications of the U.S. Net Capital Inflow


  • Benjamin M. Friedman


The rapidly growing net inflow of capital from abroad, mirroring the extraordinary deterioration of the U.S. export-import balance, has played a major role in equilibrating overall saving and investment in the United States in the face of unprecedentedly large and persistent federal goverriment budget deficits during the 1980s. As a result of this capital inflow, the share of U.S. financial assets held by foreign investors is also growing rapidly. If the inflow continues, the increasing relative importance of foreign investors will in general change the equilibrium price and yield relationships determined in U.S. markets. In particular, because foreign investors, on average, hold far less of their portfolios in long-term debt instruments than do American investors, the increasing share of foreign ownership of U.S. financial assets is likely to raise the expected return premium on long-term debt, and hence to shift the composition of U.S. financial activity away from capital formation. Nevertheless, the foreign capital inflow -- and with it the U.S.export-import balance -- may change in response to a variety of possible influences, including U.S. fiscal and monetary policies. Empirical estimates based on reduced-form equations indicate that a tightening of U.S. fiscal policy would significantly stimulate U.S. capital formation, and would shrink the U.S. capital inflow (that is, improve the U.S. export-import balance) by even more. Analogous estimates indicate that an easing of U.S. money policy would also significantly stimulate capital formation and shrink the capital inflow, but with the relative magnitudes of the two effects approximately reversed.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin M. Friedman, 1986. "Implications of the U.S. Net Capital Inflow," NBER Working Papers 1804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1804
    Note: ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lintner, John, 1969. "The Aggregation of Investor's Diverse Judgments and Preferences in Purely Competitive Security Markets," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 347-400, December.
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    3. Stephen M. Goldfeld & Alan S. Blinder, 1972. "Some Implications of Endogenous Stabilization Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 3(3), pages 585-644.
    4. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1982. " Effects of Shifting Saving Patterns on Interest Rates and Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(1), pages 37-62, March.
    5. Breeden, Douglas T., 1979. "An intertemporal asset pricing model with stochastic consumption and investment opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-296, September.
    6. William C. Brainard & James Tobin, 1968. "Pitfalls in Financial Model-Building," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 244, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    7. Stephen N. Marris, 1985. "The Decline and Fall of the Dollar: Some Policy Issues," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 237-244.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Saburo Okita & Peter G. Peterson & James R. Schlesinger, 1988. "International Capital Flows and Domestic Economic Policies," NBER Chapters,in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 559-658 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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