The End of Chimerica

31 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2009 Last revised: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

Harvard University - Department of History; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Moritz Schularick

University of Bonn - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 9, 2009


For the better part of the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with US over-consumption. The financial crisis of 2007-2009 likely marks the beginning of the end of the Chimerican relationship. In this paper we look at this era as economic historians, trying to set events in a longer-term perspective. In some ways China's economic model in the decade 1998-2007 was similar to the one adopted by West Germany and Japan after World War II. Trade surpluses with the U.S. played a major role in propelling growth. But there were two key differences. First, the scale of Chinese currency intervention was without precedent, as were the resulting distortions of the world economy. Second, the Chinese have so far resisted the kind of currency appreciation to which West Germany and Japan consented. We conclude that Chimerica cannot persist for much longer in its present form. As in the 1970s, sizeable changes in exchange rates are needed to rebalance the world economy. A continuation of Chimerica at a time of dollar devaluation would give rise to new and dangerous distortions in the global economy.

Suggested Citation

Ferguson, Niall and Schularick, Moritz, The End of Chimerica (November 9, 2009). Harvard Business School BGIE Unit Working Paper No. 10-037, Available at SSRN: or

Niall Ferguson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of History ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

Moritz Schularick

University of Bonn - Department of Economics ( email )


Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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