NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The OPEC Surplus and U.S.-LDC Trade

William H. Branson

NBER Working Paper No. 791
Issued in October 1981
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment Program, International Finance and Macroeconomics Program

This paper explores the connections between the shift of world saving toward OPEC and the changing structure of U.S. trade with the non-oil developing countries. The basic point of the paper is that during the 1970s the U.S. economy has become more interdependent through trade with the newly industrializing countries (NICs) in the developing world. The shift of world saving toward OPEC in the 1970s effectively internationalized the supply of saving, as OPEC places its surplus in the international financial system. The NICs and other developing countries borrow the surplus and direct it to domestic investment. Investment in the NICs stimulates the demand for U.S. capital goods. The reallocation of resources towards capital goods production in the U.S. stimulates excess demand for consumer goods, which appear as imports from the NICs. U.S. exports of capital goods to these countries have grown rapidly in the 1970s as have U.S. imports of non-food, non-auto consumer goods from them. Thus the structure of U.S. trade has been reoriented to become complementary with the rapidly- growing developing countries, and perhaps more competitive with Europe and Japan.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0791

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