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The Saving Glut Explanation of Global Imbalances: the Role of Underinvestment

Flavia Corneli ()

No ECO2009/41, Economics Working Papers from European University Institute

Abstract: According to the “Saving Glut hypothesis”, global imbalances are caused by inefficiently high level of precautionary savings in financially underdeveloped regions, where agents have limited opportunity to diversify idiosyncratic risk. This paper generalizes the approach by modeling idiosyncratic risk in entrepreneurial activities, which can be only partially hedged. As a result, agents save too much and invest too little, relative to the efficient allocation, depressing production activities and the real interest rate. Capital account liberalization towards financially more advanced economies then produces an outflow of capital in search of safer investment, with the effect of further reducing domestic investment in countries with poor financial institutions. The model predicts welfare losses for less financially developed economies, and an increase in wealth inequality for advanced economies. Finally, the present analysis is able to explain the direct link between the financial crisis and global recession and the long run implications of worsening financial conditions on countries’ net external positions.

Keywords: Current Account; Financial Markets; Heterogeneity; Incomplete Markets; International Capital Movements (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D52 E44 F32 G11 G15 O16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-opm
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