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The "great moderation'' and the US external imbalance

  • Fabrizio Perri

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Alessandra Fogli

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

The early 1980s marked the onset of two striking features of the current world macro-economy: the fall in US business cycle volatility (the "great moderation") and the large and persistent US external imbalance. In this paper we argue that an external imbalance is a natural consequence of the great moderation. If a country experiences a fall in volatility greater than that of its partners, its relative incentives to accumulate precautionary savings fall and this results in an equilibrium permanent deterioration of its external balance. To assess how much of the current US imbalance can be explained by this channel, we consider a standard two country business cycle model in which households are subject to country specific shocks they cannot perfectly insure against. The model suggests that a fall in business cycle volatility like the one observed for the US relatively to other major economies can account for about 20% of the current total US external imbalance.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 41.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:41
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  1. 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.
  2. Sylvain Leduc & Keith Sill, 2007. "Monetary Policy, Oil Shocks, and TFP: Accounting for the Decline in U.S. Volatility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 595-614, October.
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  9. Caballero, Ricardo & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of 'Global Imbalances' and Low Interest Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 5573, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2005. "Understanding Changes In International Business Cycle Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(5), pages 968-1006, 09.
  11. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  12. Andres Arias & Gary Hansen & Lee Ohanian, 2007. "Why have business cycle fluctuations become less volatile?," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 43-58, July.
  13. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? And If Not, How Costly is Adjustment Likely To Be?," NBER Working Papers 11541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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