Report | Trade and Globalization

Still a Debtor Nation

Briefing Paper #22

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In response to criticisms by private economists,’the Commerce
Department’ Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has revised its method of
calculating the U.S. Net International Investment Position (NIIP). New estimates
for 1982-89 released on June 9, 1991 seemed to imply that the U.S. was much
less of an international debtor than was previously thought. When the new
methods were extended to the data for 1990, in estimates released on July 2,
1991, however, the result was only confusion. The BEA reported that one of its
two new measures of the NIIP improved by $27.5 billion in 1990, while the other
one worsened by $92.9 billion!

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