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.
Feldstein and Horioka (1980) argued that the correlation of saving and investment in a cross-section of countries may provide a test of global capital mobility. This paper argues that neither the long-run nor the short-run correlation can serve as a reliable basis for such a test. The intertemporal budget constraint implies that each country’s saving and investment should be cointegrated over time. Simulations show that the cross-section regressions used in the literature will produce correlations that strongly tend towards one, regardless of the degree of capital mobility. Although the short-run correlation is not affected by the intertemporal budget constraint, the empirical analysis shows it is primarily a country-specific business cycle fact.