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Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run

  • Aart Kraay
  • Jaume Ventura

Faced with income fluctuations, countries smooth their consumption by raising savings when income is high, and vice versa. How much of these savings do countries invest at home and abroad? In other words, what are the effects of fluctuations in savings on domestic investment and the current account? In the long run, we find that countries invest the marginal unit of savings in domestic and foreign assets in the same proportions as in their initial portfolio, so that the latter is remarkably stable. In the short run, we find that countries invest the marginal unit of savings mostly in foreign assets, and only gradually do they rebalance their portfolio back to its original composition. This means that countries not only try to smooth consumption, but also domestic investment. To achieve this, they use foreign assets as a buffer stock.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9030.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9030.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Publication status: published as Gertler, Mark and Kenneth S. Rogoff (eds.) NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9030
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  1. R. C. Merton, 1970. "Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model," Working papers 58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1994. "The Intertemporal Approach to the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 4893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tesar, L.L., 1988. "Savings, Investment And International Capital Flows," Papers 64, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld, 1981. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," NBER Working Papers 0686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1983. "Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later," NBER Working Papers 1129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kraay, Aart & Loayza, Norman & Servén, Luis & Ventura, Jaume, 2001. "Country Portfolios," CEPR Discussion Papers 2974, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1992. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 4140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1983. "Real Interest Rates, Home Goods, and Optimal External Borrowing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 141-53, February.
  9. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1995. "Estimating long-run relationships from dynamic heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 79-113, July.
  10. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Current Accounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1137-1166.
  11. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
  12. Robert E. Lucas & Jr., 1967. "Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 321.
  13. Ricardo J. Caballero, 1997. "Aggregate Investment," NBER Working Papers 6264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1987. "Current account dynamics in a finite horizon model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 299-313, November.
  15. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474.
  16. Svensson, Lars E O & Razin, Assaf, 1983. "The Terms of Trade and the Current Account: The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 97-125, February.
  17. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
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