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Penny wise and pound foolish? On the income from Germany’s foreign investments

Thomas Knetsch and Arne Nagengast ()

Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), 2017, vol. 153, issue 4, 753-778

Abstract: Abstract Recently, Germany’s current account surpluses have been a cause of concern both in the public debate as well as in policy circles. Although accumulating net foreign assets appears reasonable against the background of population ageing, one of the criticisms that has been voiced repeatedly in this regard is that Germany’s savings are being squandered abroad. In order to disentangle the dynamics of the German investment income balance, we apply a novel decomposition framework to a rich German dataset spanning 11 different asset classes between 1999 and 2014. First, we show that Germany gained a yield privilege in this time period and that it would not have been more profitable to invest German savings in domestic assets. Second, the accumulation of net foreign assets accounted for 60% of the rise in the investment income balance. Third, the global decline in interest rates in the aftermath of the global financial crisis led to an appreciable dent in net investment income receipts, which leaves scope for a risk sharing interpretation.

Keywords: Investment income balance; Return differential; Exorbitant privilege; International risk sharing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E50 F36 F45 G15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Working Paper: On the dynamics of the investment income balance (2016) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s10290-017-0283-3

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Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv) is currently edited by Paul Bergin, Holger Görg, Cédric Tille and Gerald Willmann

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Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:153:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10290-017-0283-3