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Center for Economics and the Environment: Policy Series


The U.S. current account deficit has attracted considerable attention from academics, policymakers and market participants. So also has the U.S. international investment position—the difference between U.S.-owned assets abroad and foreign-owned assets in the United States. The net position has become increasingly negative as current account deficits have accumulated over time. I have spoken on international topics several times in recent years, emphasizing the importance of international capital flows for explaining the evolution of the U.S. international accounts. I’ll review some of my prior analysis today, but want to concentrate on the question in my title.

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