NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does the Current Account Matter?

Sebastian Edwards

NBER Working Paper No. 8275
Issued in May 2001
NBER Program(s):   IFM   ITI

The purpose of this paper is to investigate in detail the behavior of the current account in emerging economies, and in particular its role if any in financial crises. Models of current account behavior are reviewed, and a dynamic model of current account sustainability is developed. The empirical analysis is based on a massive data set that covers over 120 countries during more than 25 years. Important controversies related to the current account including the extent to which current account deficits help predict currency crises are also analyzed. Throughout the paper I am interested in analyzing whether there is evidence supporting the idea that there are costs involved in running 'very large' deficits. Moreover, I investigate the nature of these potential costs, including whether they are particularly high in the presence of other type of imbalances.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8275

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