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.
Ravi Balakrishnan, Volodymyr Tulin, and Tamim Bayoumi
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper examines the roles of U.S. financial innovation, financial globalization, and the savings glut hypothesis in explaining the rise in U.S. external debt, first in a portfolio balance model, and then empirically. Perhaps surprisingly, financial deepening and falling home bias in industrialized countries explain a large share of external financing. The savings glut hypothesis (including difficult-to-track petrodollar recycling) and U.S. financial innovation are also important, in part as a cause of declining home bias in industrialized countries. The latter underscores the importance of not looking at these factors in isolation, but rather as a constellation of forces that can be self-reinforcing.