IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

THE EXTERNAL WEALTH OF NATIONS: Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities For Industrial and Developing Countries


  • Philip Lane
  • Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti


Although capital flows are closely monitored, surprisingly little is known about the accumulated stocks of foreign assets and liabilities held by various countries, especially in the developing world. This paper constructs estimates of foreign assets and liabilities and their equity and debt subcomponents for a sample of 67 industrial and developing countries. It characterizes the stylized facts of international balance sheets and asks whether there are trends in net foreign asset positions and shifts in debt-equity ratios over time. Finally, it explores the sensitivity of estimated stock positions to the treatment of valuation effects not captured in balance of payments data.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "THE EXTERNAL WEALTH OF NATIONS: Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities For Industrial and Developing Countries," CEG Working Papers 20012, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcdceg:20012

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael P. Dooley, 1988. "Capital Flight: A Response to Differences in Financial Risks," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(3), pages 422-436, September.
    2. Mark Rider, 1994. "External Debt and Liabilities of Industrial Countries," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9405, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    3. 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.
    4. Joseph E. Gagnon, 1996. "Net foreign assets and equilibrium exchange rates: panel evidence," International Finance Discussion Papers 574, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2004. "The Transfer Problem Revisited: Net Foreign Assets and Real Exchange Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 841-857, November.
    6. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2000. "Perspectives on OECD economic integration : implications for U.S. current account adjustment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 169-208.
    7. Branson, William H. & Henderson, Dale W., 1985. "The specification and influence of asset markets," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 749-805 Elsevier.
    8. Canzoneri, Matthew B. & Cumby, Robert E. & Diba, Behzad, 1999. "Relative labor productivity and the real exchange rate in the long run: evidence for a panel of OECD countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 245-266, April.
    9. Chihwa Kao & Min-Hsien Chiang, 1997. "On the Estimation and Inference of a Cointegrated Regression in Panel Data," Econometrics 9703001, EconWPA.
    10. Lane, Philip R., 2001. "The new open economy macroeconomics: a survey," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 235-266, August.
    11. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
    12. Ronald MacDonald & Luca Ricci, 2001. "PPP and the Balassa Samuelson Effect: the Role of the Distribution Sector," CESifo Working Paper Series 442, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Pedroni, Peter, 1999. " Critical Values for Cointegration Tests in Heterogeneous Panels with Multiple Regressors," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 653-670, Special I.
    14. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Mendoza, Enrique G., 2000. "Rational contagion and the globalization of securities markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 79-113, June.
    15. Lane, Philip R., 2000. "International investment positions: a cross-sectional analysis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 513-534, August.
    16. Rebecca L Driver & Peter F Westaway, 2005. "Concepts of equilibrium exchange rates," Bank of England working papers 248, Bank of England.
    17. Atish R. Ghosh & Jonathan D. Ostry, 1994. "Export Instability and the External Balance in Developing Countries," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(2), pages 214-235, June.
    18. Davidson, James, 1998. "Structural relations, cointegration and identification: some simple results and their application," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 87-113, August.
    19. Cohen, Daniel, 1991. "The Solvency of Eastern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Masson, Paul R. & Kremers, Jeroen & Horne, Jocelyn, 1994. "Net foreign assets and international adjustment: The United States, Japan and Germany," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 27-40, February.
    21. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2002. "Long-Term Capital Movements," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 73-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
    23. Milesi-Ferretti, G-M & Razin, A, 1996. "Current-Account Sustainability," Princeton Studies in International Economics 81, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
    24. Kaddour Hadri, 2000. "Testing for stationarity in heterogeneous panel data," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 3(2), pages 148-161.
    25. Susana Garcia Cervero & J. Humberto Lopez & Enrique Alberola Ila & Angel J. Ubide, 1999. "Global Equilibrium Exchange Rates; Euro, Dollar, “Ins,” “Outs,” and Other Major Currencies in a Panel Cointegration Framework," IMF Working Papers 99/175, International Monetary Fund.
    26. De Gregorio, Jose & Giovannini, Alberto & Wolf, Holger C., 1994. "International evidence on tradables and nontradables inflation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1225-1244, June.
    27. Paul Krugman, 1987. "Adjustment in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 2424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Chinn, Menzie D. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2003. "Medium-term determinants of current accounts in industrial and developing countries: an empirical exploration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 47-76, January.
    29. Peter J. Buckley (ed.), 1990. "International Investment," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 533.
    30. Hamid Faruqee, 1995. "Long-Run Determinants of the Real Exchange Rate: A Stock-Flow Perspective," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 80-107, March.
    31. Lane, Philip & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, "undated". "External Wealth of Nations," Instructional Stata datasets for econometrics extwealth, Boston College Department of Economics.
    32. John H. Rogers, 2001. "Price level convergence, relative prices, and inflation in Europe," International Finance Discussion Papers 699, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    33. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    34. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1991. "Structural Determinants of Real Exchange Rates and National Price Levels: Some Empirical Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 325-334, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tcd:tcdceg:20012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Patricia Hughes) or (Ilker Cakar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.