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 reasseses the significance of persistent current imbalances as they become easier to finance in the process of European integration. After highlighting some limitations of simple saving-investment guidelines for policies toward the current account, the paper shows that an economy’s current account position may be an indicator of its attitude toward risk. Externalities in the incidence of risk could warrant government concern over current imbalances, even if they are caused by privately motivated investment and saving decisions. Such externalities may arise from credit markets’ conventional perceptions about country risk and from existing deposit insurance arrangements.