current account, global imbalances, Global/Multiregional, globalization, monetary integration, CASE Reports, CASE Network Studies and Analyses, Trade, economic integration and globalization

Rethinking balance-of-payments constraints in a globalized world


This paper confronts the traditional balance-of-payments (BoP) analytical framework (with its dominant focus on the size of a given country’s current account imbalance and its external liabilities) with the contemporary realities of highly integrated international capital markets and cross-country capital mobility. Some key implicit assumptions of the traditional framework like those of a fixed residence of capital owners and home country bias are challenged and an alternative set of assumptions is offered. These reflect the unrestricted character of private capital flows (with no “home country bias” and fixed domicile) determined mostly by the expected rate of return. As a result, the importance of BoP constraints (in their “orthodox” interpretation) diminishes and they disappear completely with respect to individual member states within a highly integrated monetary union. This does not mean, however, immunization from other kinds of macroeconomic risks.