balance of payments
Since the late 1950s the United States has generally experienced an unfavorable balance of payments because of large-scale foreign aid, sizable U.S. investment in Europe, and major U.S. military investments abroad. In the early 1970s the United States, in an effort to create a more favorable balance of payments, announced (1971, 1973) a devaluation of the U.S. dollar. However, the increase in the cost of petroleum from the Arab states (1973–74) had a negative effect on the balance of payments in the United States and most countries in Western Europe. In addition, tight money policies and high deficits adversely affected the savings rate in the United States in the 1980s and caused the balance of payments to decline even further. As a result, the United States looked to foreign borrowing to fill the gap, but the interest payments only increased the shortfall in the balance of payments. In the late 1990s and subsequent years the U.S. balance of payments reached record negative levels.
See N. Fatemi, Problems of Balance of Payment and Trade (1975); T. De Saint Phalle, Trade, Inflation, and the Dollar (1981); D. Bigman, ed., Floating Exchange Rates and the State of World Trade Payments (1984).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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