NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The U.S. Current Account Deficit: Gradual Correction or Abrupt Adjustment?

Sebastian Edwards

NBER Working Paper No. 12154
Issued in April 2006
NBER Program(s):   IFM

In this paper I use a large multi-country data set to analyze the determinants of abrupt and large “current account reversals.” The results from a variance-component probit model indicate that the probability of experiencing a major current account reversal is positively affected by larger current account deficits, lower prices of exports relative to imports, and expansive monetary policies. On the other hand, this probability is lower for more advanced countries, and for countries with flexible exchange rates. An analysis of the marginal effects of current account deficits and of the predicted probability of reversal indicates that both have increased significantly for the U.S. since 1999. However, the level of this probability is still on the low side. I estimate that the predicted probability of a current account reversal in the U.S. has increased from 1.7% in 1999, to 14.9% in 2006.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12154

Published: Edwards, Sebastian, 2006. "The U.S. current account deficit: Gradual correction or abrupt adjustment?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 629-643, September. citation courtesy of

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