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The Risk Content of Exports: A Portfolio View of International Trade

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011

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  • Julian di Giovanni
  • Andrei A. Levchenko

Abstract

It has been suggested that countries which export in especially risky sectors will experience higher output volatility. This paper develops a measure of the riskiness of a country's pattern of export specialization, and illustrates its features across countries and over time. The exercise reveals large cross-country differences in the risk content of exports. This measure is strongly correlated with terms-of-trade and output volatility, but does not exhibit a close relationship to the level of income, overall trade openness, or other country characteristics. We then propose an explanation for what determines the risk content of exports, based on the theoretical literature exemplified by Turnovsky (1974). Countries with comparative advantage in the safe sectors or strong enough comparative advantage in the risky sectors will specialize, whereas countries whose comparative advantage in the risky sectors is not too strong will diversify their export structure to insure against export income risk. We use both non-parametric and parametric techniques to demonstrate that these theoretical predictions are strongly supported by the data.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Jeffrey Frankel & Christopher Pissarides, 2012. "NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran11-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12492.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12492

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    1. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-75, August.
    2. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2006. "Trade Openness and Volatility," Development Working Papers 219, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
    4. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Financial Dependence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
    6. Sorensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1999. "Risk Sharing and Industrial Specialization: Regional and International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2295, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Golub, Stephen S & Hsieh, Chang-Tai, 2000. "Classical Ricardian Theory of Comparative Advantage Revisited," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 221-34, May.
    8. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ehsan U. Choudhri & Lawrence L. Schembri, 2002. "Productivity performance and international competitiveness: an old test reconsidered," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(2), pages 341-362, May.
    10. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1992. "Technological choice, financial markets and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 763-781, May.
    11. Marco Terrones & Eswar Prasad & M. Ayhan Kose, 2003. "Financial Integration and Macroeconomic Volatility," IMF Working Papers 03/50, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Kevin Cowan & Alejandro Neut, 2007. "Intermediate Goods, Institutions and Output per Worker," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 420, Central Bank of Chile.
    13. Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Ivana Komunjer, 2010. "What Goods Do Countries Trade? A Quantitative Exploration of Ricardo's Ideas," NBER Working Papers 16262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. James Harrigan, 1996. "Technology, Factor Supplies and International Specialization: Estimating the Neoclassical Model," NBER Working Papers 5722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," NBER Working Papers 5537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Raddatz, Claudio, 2006. "Liquidity needs and vulnerability to financial underdevelopment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 677-722, June.
    17. Yatchew,Adonis, 2003. "Semiparametric Regression for the Applied Econometrician," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521812832, April.
    18. Bejan, Maria, 2006. "Trade Openness and Output Volatility," MPRA Paper 2759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Miklós Koren, 2003. "Financial Globalization, Portfolio Diversification, and the Pattern of International Trade," IMF Working Papers 03/233, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:
    1. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2006. "Trade Openness and Volatility," Development Working Papers 219, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
    2. Krishna, Pravin & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2013. "Comparative advantage, complexity, and volatility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 314-329.
    3. Joël CARIOLLE, 2012. "Measuring macroeconomic volatility - Applications to export revenue data, 1970-2005," Working Papers I14, FERDI.
    4. repec:gen:geneem:13032 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Dalila NICET- CHENAF (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113) & Eric ROUGIER (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2008. "Recent exports matter: export discoveries, FDI and Growth, an empirical assessment for MENA countries," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-22, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    6. Regolo, Julie, 2013. "Export diversification: How much does the choice of the trading partner matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 329-342.
    7. Joël CARIOLLE, 2012. "Mesurer l’instabilité macroéconomique - Applications aux données de recettes d’exportation, 1970-2005," Working Papers I14, FERDI.
    8. Aleksandra Parteka, 2013. "The Evolving Structure Of Polish Exports (1994-2010) – Diversification Of Products And Trade Partners," GUT FME Working Paper Series A 10, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology.
    9. Julie Regolo, 2013. "Export Diversification: How Much Does the Choice of the Trading Partner Matter?," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 13072, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.

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