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On Returns Differentials

Listed author(s):
  • Stephanie E. Curcuru
  • Charles P. Thomas
  • Francis E. Warnock

Estimates of U.S. returns differentials have ranged from exorbitant to quite small, in part because of their volatility coupled with the relatively short time series available. We shed light on underlying drivers of returns differentials by presenting a number of decompositions: a by-asset-class decomposition into yields and capital gains, the Gourinchas and Rey (2007a) composition and return effects, and further decompositions of capital gains that focus on exchange rate effects. While each decomposition informs thinking about returns differentials, one constant is evident throughout: to date the existing differential favoring the U.S. has owed primarily to one factor, a differential in direct investment yields. We discuss how our analysis informs the income puzzle (of positive net income flows to the U.S. even as its net international investment position is negative and substantial) and the position puzzle (of a sizeable gap between the reported U.S. net international position and cumulated current account deficits), provide an initial assessment of the literature on the dynamics of returns differentials, and present a framework to guide a forward-looking view of how returns differentials might evolve in the future.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18866.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18866.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
Publication status: published as Curcuru, S., C. Thomas, and F. Warnock, 2013. On Returns Differentials. Journal of International Money and Finance 36: 1-25.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18866
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  1. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Taxes, Leverage and the National Return on Outbound Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 4689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Meissner, Christopher M & Taylor, Alan M., 2006. "Losing our Marbles in the New Century? The Great Rebalancing in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5917, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2007. "A Global Perspective on External Positions," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 67-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Decomposing the U.S. external returns differential," International Finance Discussion Papers 977, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  10. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti & Philip R. Lane, 2008. "Where Did All the Borrowing Go? A Forensic Analysis of the U.S. External Position," IMF Working Papers 08/28, International Monetary Fund.
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  13. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2009. "Financial Integration, Financial Development, and Global Imbalances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 371-416, 06.
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