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International trade in durable goods: understanding volatility, cyclicality, and elastics

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  • Charles Engel
  • Jian Wang

Abstract

Data for OECD countries document: 1. imports and exports are about three times as volatile as GDP; 2. imports and exports are pro-cyclical, and positively correlated with each other; 3. net exports are counter-cyclical. Standard models fail to replicate the behavior of imports and exports, though they can match net exports relatively well. Inspired by the fact that a large fraction of international trade is in durable goods, we propose a two-country two-sector model, in which durable goods are traded across countries.> ; Our model can match the business cycle statistics on the volatility and comovement of the imports and exports relatively well. In addition, the model with trade in durables helps to understand the empirical regularity noted in the trade literature: home and foreign goods are highly substitutable in the long run, but the short-run elasticity of substitution is low. We note that durable consumption also has implications for the appropriate measures of consumption and prices to assess risk-sharing opportunities, as in the empirical work on the Backus-Smith puzzle. The fact that our model can match data better in multiple dimensions suggests that trade in durable goods may be an important element in open-economy macro models.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper with number 03.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:03

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Keywords: Durable goods; Consumer ; International trade;

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Cited by:
  1. Baum, Christopher F. & Caglayan, Mustafa, 2010. "On the sensitivity of the volume and volatility of bilateral trade flows to exchange rate uncertainty," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 79-93, February.
  2. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Sam & Neiman, Brent & Romalis, John, 2013. "Trade and the Global Recession," Working Papers 2013-21, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  3. Christopher F. Baum & Mustafa Caglayan, 2008. "The Volatility of International Trade Flows and Exchange Rate Uncertainty," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 695, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. HOSONO Kaoru & TAKIZAWA Miho & TSURU Kotaro, 2013. "International Transmission of the 2008-09 Financial Crisis: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 13010, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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