NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Current Accounts in the Long and Short Run

Aart Kraay, Jaume Ventura

NBER Working Paper No. 9030
Issued in June 2002
NBER Program(s):   IFM   ITI

Faced with income fluctuations, countries smooth their consumption by raising savings when income is high, and vice versa. How much of these savings do countries invest at home and abroad? In other words, what are the effects of fluctuations in savings on domestic investment and the current account? In the long run, we find that countries invest the marginal unit of savings in domestic and foreign assets in the same proportions as in their initial portfolio, so that the latter is remarkably stable. In the short run, we find that countries invest the marginal unit of savings mostly in foreign assets, and only gradually do they rebalance their portfolio back to its original composition. This means that countries not only try to smooth consumption, but also domestic investment. To achieve this, they use foreign assets as a buffer stock.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9030

Published: Gertler, Mark and Kenneth S. Rogoff (eds.) NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003.

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