The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper surveys the main theoretical approaches for analyzing movements in the current account of the balance of payments, from the Mundell-Fleming paradigm to modern intertemporal approaches. It discusses the main implications of these analyses for policymaking, highlighting that modern economic theory views current account imbalances not simply as a reflection of goods market developments, but also as an outcome of intertemporal consumption and investment choices and associated capital market behavior. To reflect on the policy strategies applied under diverse circumstances, the paper analyzes the recent experiences of Italy, Israel, and Pakistan.