NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Frederic Lambert

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Working Papers

November 2009Current Account Fact and Fiction
with David Backus, Espen Henriksen, 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.

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