Barry Eichengreen | Clausen Center

Barry Eichengreen

George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics, Professor of Political Science

Economics and Political Science

Barry Eichengreen is the George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1987. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London, England). In 1997-98 he was Senior Policy Advisor at the International Monetary Fund. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (class of 1997). Professor Eichengreen is the convener of the Bellagio Group of academics and economic officials and chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the  IMF policy.

Summary of recent papers:

Can Countries Rely on Foreign Saving for Investment and Economic Development?

Date: May 2016

Coauthors: Eduardo Cavallo, Ugo Panizza

Citation: IHEID Working Papers, 07-2016

A surprisingly large number of countries have been able to finance a significant fraction of domestic investment using foreign finance for extended periods. While many of these episodes are in low-income countries where official finance is more important than private finance, we also identify a number of episodes where a substantial fraction of domestic investment was financed via private capital inflows. That said, we find that foreign savings are not a good substitute for domestic savings. More often than not, episodes of large and persistent current account deficits do not end happily. Rather, they end abruptly with compression of the current account, real exchange rate depreciation, and a sharp slowdown in investment. We conclude that financing growth and investment out of foreign savings, while not impossible, is risky.

 

Cables, Sharks and Servers: Technology and the Geography of the Foreign Exchange Market

Date: January 2016

Coauthors: Romain Lafarguette, Arnaud Mehl

Citation: NBER Working Papers, No. 21884

We analyze the impact of technology on production and trade in services, focusing on the foreign exchange market. We identify exogenous technological changes by the connection of countries to submarine fiber-optic cables used for electronic trading, but which were not laid for purposes related to the foreign exchange market. We estimate the impact of cable connections on the share of offshore foreign exchange transactions. Cable connections between local markets and matching servers in the major financial centers lower the fixed costs of trading currencies and increase the share of currency trades occurring onshore. At the same time, however, they attenuate the effect of standard spatial frictions such as distance, local market liquidity, and restrictive regulations that otherwise prevent transactions from moving to the major financial centers. Our estimates suggest that the second effect dominates. Technology dampens the impact of spatial frictions by up to 80 percent and increases, in net terms, the share of offshore trading by 21 percentage points. Technology also has economically important implications for the distribution of foreign exchange transactions across financial centers, boosting the share in global turnover of London, the world’s largest trading venue, by as much as one-third.

 

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