The current account in developed countries is highly persistent and volatile in comparison to output growth. The standard intertemporal current account model with rational expectations (RE) fails to account for the observed current account dynamics together with persistent changes in consumption. The RE model extended with imperfect capital mobility by Shibata and Shintani (1998) can account for persistent changes in consumption, but only at the cost of the explanatory power for the volatility of the current account. This paper replaces RE in the intertemporal current account model with sticky information (SI) in which consumers are inattentive to shocks to their income and infrequently adjust their consumption. The SI model can better explain a persistent and volatile current account than the RE model but it overpredicts the persistence of changes in consumption. The SI model extended with imperfect capital mobility almost fully explains current account dynamics and the persistence of changes in consumption, if high degrees of information rigidity and imperfect capital mobility are taken into account.
Capital mobility Imperfect information Inattentiveness Permanent income hypothesis