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On Returns Differentials

  • Stephanie E. Curcuru
  • Charles P. Thomas
  • Francis E. Warnock
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    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
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    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. Helene Rey & Pierre Olivier Gourinchas, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," 2005 Meeting Papers 169, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2005. "A Global Perspective on External Positions," NBER Working Papers 11589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-border returns differentials," International Finance Discussion Papers 921, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Harry Grubert & Timothy Goodspeed & Deborah L. Swenson, 1993. "Explaining the Low Taxable Income of Foreign-Controlled Companies in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in International Taxation, pages 237-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "The demand for tax haven operations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 513-531, February.
    6. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2009. "Where did all the borrowing go? A forensic analysis of the U.S. external position," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Globalization, 20th Anniversary Conference, NBER-TCER-CEPR National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Devereux, Michael B & Sutherland, Alan, 2009. "Valuation Effects and the Dynamics of Net External Assets," CEPR Discussion Papers 7273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Technology capital and the U.S. current account," Working Papers 646, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Ricardo Hausmann and Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global imbalances or bad accounting? The missing dark matter in the wealth of nations," Business School Working Papers globalimbal, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    10. José L. Fillat & Stefania Garetto, 2015. "Risk, Returns, and Multinational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 2027-2073.
    11. Maurice Obstfeld, 2012. "Does the Current Account Still Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 1-23, May.
    12. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Current Account Sustainability and Relative Reliability," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2008, pages 67-109 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Nguyen, Ha, 2011. "Valuation effects with transitory and trend productivity shocks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 245-255.
    14. 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.
    15. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2010. "Financial globalization, financial crises and contagion," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 24-39, January.
    16. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Decomposing the U.S. External Returns Differential," NBER Working Papers 15077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Christopher M. Meissner & Alan M. Taylor, 2006. "Losing our marbles in the new century?: the great rebalancing in historical perspective," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 51.
    18. Habib, Maurizio Michael, 2010. "Excess returns on net foreign assets: the exorbitant privilege from a global perspective," Working Paper Series 1158, European Central Bank.
    19. Curcuru, Stephanie E. & Dvorak, Tomas & Warnock, Francis E., 2010. "Decomposing the U.S. external returns differential," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 22-32, January.
    20. Martin Feldstein, 1994. "Taxes, Leverage and the National Return on Outbound Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 4689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1495-1530.
    22. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter Schott, 2008. "Transfer Pricing by U.S.-Based Multinational Firms," Working Papers 08-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    23. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," NBER Working Papers 13768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Helene Rey & Nicolas Govillot, 2010. "Exorbitant Privilege and Exorbitant Duty," IMES Discussion Paper Series 10-E-20, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    25. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
    26. repec:tcd:wpaper:tep16 is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2005. "Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 67-146.
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