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Terms-of-trade shocks and optimal investment: another look at the Laursen-Metzler effect

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  • Serven, Luis

Abstract

Conventional analyses of the effect of terms-of-trade shocks provide a misleading view of their impact on investment and the current account, because capital goods imports are excluded from the analytical framework. The author argues that such an exclusion is both arbitrary and unrealistic. The author reexamines the consequences of permanent and transitory changes in terms of trade in a rational-expectations model of a small open economy with intertemporally optimizing agents, and with trade in both consumption and capital goods. In this framework, the responses to a permanent terms of trade improvement in unambiguous: the long-run capital stock, and thus investment, must rise, and the current account must deteriorate -- exactly the opposite of the Laursen-Metzler effect. A transitory improvement in the terms of trade raises saving but has an uncertaineffect on investment. So, the impact on the current account is generally ambiguous and is shown to depend on three factors: the import contents on consumption and investment, the duration of the windfall, and the degree of intertemporal substitutability in both consumption and investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 18 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 337-365

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:18:y:1999:i:3:p:337-365

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1982. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 251-70, May.
  2. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1993. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Acocount," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 31, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  3. Cha, Baekin, 1993. "Dynamic effects of a terms-of-trade shock on a small open economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 205-209.
  4. Sen, Partha & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 1989. "Deterioration of the terms of trade and capital accumulation: A re-examination of the Laursen-Metzler effect," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 227-250, May.
  5. Serven, Luis, 1995. "Capital goods imports, the real exchange rate and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 79-101, August.
  6. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1983. "Intertemporal price speculation and the optimal current-account deficit," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 135-145, August.
  7. Lahiri, Amartya, 1996. "Intertemporal price speculation and the optimal current-account deficit: a comment," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 135-139, February.
  8. Sadka, Joyce C. & Yi, Kei-Mu, 1996. "Consumer durables, permanent terms of trade shocks, and the recent US trade deficits," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 797-811, October.
  9. Gavin, Michael, 1991. "Income effects of adjustment to a terms of trade disturbance and the demand for adjustment finance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1-2), pages 127-153, November.
  10. van Wincoop, Eric, 1993. "Structural adjustment and the construction sector," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 177-201, January.
  11. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1983. "Real Interest Rates, Home Goods, and Optimal External Borrowing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 141-53, February.
  12. Spatafora, Nikola & Warner, Andrew, 1995. "Macroeconomic effects of terms-of-trade shocks : the case of oil-exporting countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1410, The World Bank.
  13. Hayashi, Fumio & Inoue, Tohru, 1991. "The Relation between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 731-53, May.
  14. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1995. "The Terms of Trade, the Real Exchange Rate, and Economic Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 101-37, February.
  15. Maurice Obstfeld., 1996. "Intertemporal Price Speculation and the Optimal Current-Account Deficit: Reply and Clarification," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-063, University of California at Berkeley.
  16. Gavin, Michael, 1992. "Monetary policy, exchange rates, and investment in a Keynesian economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 145-161, April.
  17. Svensson, Lars E O & Razin, Assaf, 1983. "The Terms of Trade and the Current Account: The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 97-125, February.
  18. Tornell, Aaron & Lane, Philip R., 1998. "Are windfalls a curse?: A non-representative agent model of the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 83-112, February.
  19. Svensson, Lars E O, 1984. "Oil Prices, Welfare, and the Trade Balance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 649-72, November.
  20. Gavin, Michael, 1990. "Structural adjustment to a terms of trade disturbance : The role of relative prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3-4), pages 217-243, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Aleksander Aristovnik, 2006. "The Determinants & Excessiveness of Current Account Deficits in Eastern Europe & the Former Soviet Union," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp827, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. CARDI, Oliver & BERTINELLI, Luisito, 2004. "A formal model of krugman’s intuition on the J-curve," CORE Discussion Papers 2004043, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Nickel, Christiane & Vansteenkiste, Isabel, 2008. "Fiscal policies, the current account and Ricardian equivalence," Working Paper Series 0935, European Central Bank.
  4. L. Sahely & R. Darius & O. Williams, 2001. "Terms of trade shocks and the current account in a unified currency area," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(8), pages 1179-1188.
  5. Olivier, CARDI, 2005. "Another View of the J-Curve," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005029, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  6. Tarlok Singh, 2007. "Intertemporal Optimizing Models Of Trade And Current Account Balance: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 25-64, 02.
  7. Olivier, CARDI, 2005. "The Zero-Root Property : Permanent vs Temporary Terms of Trade Shocks," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005030, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.

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