Capital flows and the current account: Taking financing (more) seriously

BIS Working Papers No 525
October 2015

This paper questions the appropriateness of popular analytical frameworks that focus on current accounts or net capital flows as a basis for assessing the pattern of cross-border capital flows, the degree of financial integration and the vulnerability of countries to financial crises. In the process, it revisits the Lucas paradox, the Feldstein-Horioka puzzle and the notion of sudden stops. It argues that, in a world of huge and free capital flows, the centrality of current accounts in international finance, and hence in academic and policy debates, should be reconsidered.

JEL classification: E10, E40, E44, E47, E52, E60

Keywords: capital flows, current account, global imbalances, financial integration, credit, finance, money