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Towards a Theory of Current Accounts

  • Jaume Ventura

The current accounts data of industrial countries exhibits some strong patterns that are inconsistent with the intertemporal approach to the current account. This is the basic model that international economists have been using for more than two decades to think about current account issues. This paper shows that it is possible to go a long way towards reconciling the theory and the data by introducing two additional features to the basic model: investment risk and adjustment costs to investment. Moreover, these extensions generate new and unexpected theoretical predictions that receive substantial support in the data. The overall message is therefore positive: with a couple of reasonable modifications, the intertemporal approach to the current account provides a fairly good description of the industrial country data.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9163.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9163.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Jaume Ventura, 2003. "Towards a Theory of Current Accounts," The World Economy, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(4), pages 483-512, 04.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9163
Note: IFM
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  1. Aart Kraay & Norman Loayza & Luis Serven & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Country Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 7795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Loayza, Norman & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "What drives private saving around the world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2309, The World Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Kraay, A. & Ventura, J., 1997. "Current Acounts in Debtor and Creditor Countries," Working papers 97-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1993. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Acocount," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 31, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  6. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2002. "Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run," NBER Working Papers 9030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Razin, A., 1993. "The Dynamic-Optimizing Approach to the Current Account: Theory and Evidence," Papers 2-93, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  8. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  9. Tesar, Linda L., 1991. "Savings, investment and international capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 55-78, August.
  10. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "The intertemporal approach to the current account," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1731-1799 Elsevier.
  11. Kenneth R. French & James M. Poterba, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 3609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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