Must-Read: Paul Krugman: The Transfer Problem and Tax Incidence

Must-Read: A huge amount of the past half century’s international macro is implicit in or an immediate consequence of elementary extensions of Dornbusch’s “Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics”:

Paul Krugman: The Transfer Problem and Tax Incidence: “I’ve spent three decades pointing out the fallacy of the doctrine of immaculate transfer…

…the notion that international flows of capital translate directly into trade imbalances. Exporters and importers don’t know or care about S-I; they respond to signals from prices and costs. A capital inflow creates a trade deficit by driving up the real exchange rate, making your goods and services less competitive. And because markets for goods and services are still very imperfectly integrated – most of GDP isn’t tradable at all – it takes large signals, big moves in the real exchange rate, to cause significant changes in the current account balance…. But how much stronger does the dollar get? The answer, familiar to international macroeconomists, is that the dollar rises above its long-run expected value, so that people expect it to decline in the future – and the extent of the rise is determined by how high the dollar has to go so that expected depreciation outweighs the rise in after-tax returns compared with other countries…. Knowledge that we’re looking at a one-time adjustment limits how high the dollar can go, which limits the size of the current account deficit, which limits the rate at which the U.S. capital stock can expand, which slows the process of return equalization. So the long run in which returns are equalized can be quite long indeed…


Brad DeLong


Connect with us!

Explore the Equitable Growth network of experts around the country and get answers to today's most pressing questions!

Get in Touch