NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Espen Henriksen

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Working Papers

September 2013Demography and Low Frequency Capital Flows
with David Backus, Thomas Cooley: w19465
We consider the causes of international capital flows. Since capital flows are extremely persistent, we argue that their drivers must be persistent, too. We think the most compelling candidates are demographic trends, tfp differences and financial frictions. In this paper we focus primarily on the role of demography in a multi-country overlapping generations model in which saving decisions are tied to agents' life expectancy. Capital flows reflect differences between saving and investment across countries. Demographic changes affect the aggregate accumulation of assets in two ways: by changing life expectancy which changes individual household saving behavior, and by changing the age distribution of the population by which individual household decisions are aggregated. The most importan...
November 2009Current Account Fact and Fiction
with David Backus, Frederic Lambert, Christopher Telmer: w15525
With US trade and current account deficits approaching 6% of GDP, some have argued that the country is "on the comfortable path to ruin" and that the required "adjustment'' may be painful. We suggest instead that things are fine: although national saving is low, the ratios of household and consolidated net worth to GDP remain high. In our view, the most striking features of the world at present are the low rates of investment and growth in some of the richest countries, whose surpluses account for about half of the US deficit. The result is that financial capital is flowing out of countries with low investment and growth and into the US and other fast-growing countries. Oil exporters account for much of the rest.
July 2009Globally Correlated Nominal Fluctuations
with Finn E. Kydland, Roman Sustek: w15123
Cyclical fluctuations in nominal variables—aggregate price levels and nominal interest rates—are documented to be substantially more synchronized across countries than cyclical fluctuations in real output. A transparent mechanism that can account for this striking feature of the nominal environment is highlighted. It is based on (small) cross-country spillovers of shocks and an interaction between Taylor rules and no-arbitrage conditions. The mechanism is quantitatively important for a wide range of plausible parameterizations and is found to be robust to modifications of the economic environment that help account for other important features of domestic and international aggregate fluctuations.
November 2007Taxes and the Global Allocation of Capital
with David Backus, Kjetil Storesletten: w13624
Despite enormous growth in international capital flows, capital-output ratios continue to exhibit substantial heterogeneity across countries. We explore the possibility that taxes, particularly corporate taxes, are a significant source of this heterogeneity. The evidence is mixed. Tax rates computed from tax revenue are inversely correlated with capital-output ratios, as we might expect. However, effective tax rates constructed from official tax rates show little relation to capital -- or to revenue-based tax measures. The stark difference between these two tax measures remains an open issue.

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