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International Finance

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  • Maurice Obstfeld

Abstract

This essay written for The New Palgrave dictionary of Ecnomics provides a selective and interpretive account of the development of thought on international financial questions. Attention is focused on the process of international adjustment and on the proper definition of external balance. Since the first descriptions of the price-specie-flow mechanism in Humes time, the definition of external balance has evolved in response to changes in the world economy's structure. The foreign reserve constraint so central under the gold standard or in the early Bretton Woods years is less important under conditions of high international capital mobility. Increasingly, the current account and the national intertemporal budget constraint are emphasized in discussions of international adjustment. In analogy with the idea of a high-employment government budget surplus, a working definition of external balance might be a current account that maintains the highest possible steady consumption level consistent with the economy's expected intertemporal budget constraint. Intertemporal approaches to external balance become more difficult to apply when countries face credit rationing as a result of nonrepayment risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Obstfeld, 1986. "International Finance," NBER Working Papers 2077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2077
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2077.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Maurice Obstfeld, 2001. "International Macroeconomics: Beyond the Mundell-Fleming Model," NBER Working Papers 8369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Benigno, Gianluca & Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2006. "Designing targeting rules for international monetary policy cooperation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 473-506, April.
    3. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2003. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 373-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2004. "Financial globalization and real regionalization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 207-243, November.
    5. Ferreira, Alex Luiz & Leon-Ledesma, Miguel A., 2007. "Does the real interest parity hypothesis hold? Evidence for developed and emerging markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 364-382, April.
    6. Salvador Gil-Pareja & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, 2004. "Export market integration in the European Union," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 7, pages 271-301, November.
    7. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy P. Marion, 1999. "Uncertainty and the disappearance of international credit," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Sep.
    8. Taylor, Alan M. & Wilson, Janine, 2006. "International Trade and Finance under the Two Hegemons: Complementarities in the United Kingdom (1870-1913) and the United States (1920-30)," CEPR Discussion Papers 5846, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "How Effective Are Capital Controls?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 65-84, Fall.
    10. Peter L. Rousseau, 2003. "Historical perspectives on financial development and economic growth," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 81-106.
    11. Antoni Estevadeordal & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "A Century of Missing Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 383-393, March.
    12. Tokhir Mirzoev, 2004. "A Dynamic Model of Endogenous Exchange Rate Pass-Through," International Finance 0409002, EconWPA.
    13. Sebastian Edwards, 2001. "Capital Mobility and Economic Performance: Are Emerging Economies Different?," NBER Working Papers 8076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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