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Are shocks to the terms of trade shocks to productivity?

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  • Timothy J. Kehoe
  • Kim J. Ruhl

Abstract

International trade is frequently thought of as a production technology in which the inputs are> exports and the outputs are imports. Exports are transformed into imports at the rate of the price> of exports relative to the price of imports: the reciprocal of the terms of trade. Cast this way, a> change in the terms of trade acts as a productivity shock. Or does it? In this paper, we show that> this line of reasoning cannot work in standard models. Starting with a simple model and then> generalizing, we show that changes in the terms of trade have no first-order effect on> productivity when output is measured as chain-weighted real GDP. The terms of trade do affect> real income and consumption in a country, and we show how measures of real income change> with the terms of trade at business cycle frequencies and during financial crises.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 391.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:391

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Keywords: Gross domestic product ; National income ; Productivity;

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  1. Kohli, Ulrich, 2004. "Real GDP, real domestic income, and terms-of-trade changes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 83-106, January.
  2. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
  3. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2005. "Is Switzerland in a Great Depression?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 759-775, July.
  4. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
  5. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
  6. Felipe Meza & Erwan Quintin, 2005. "Financial crises and total factor productivity," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0105, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  7. Feenstra, Robert C. & Heston, Alan & Timmer, Marcel P. & Deng, Haiyan, 2007. "Estimating real production and expenditures across nations : a proposal for improving the Penn World Tables," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4166, The World Bank.
  8. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2006. "Endogenous Sudden Stops in a Business Cycle Model with Collateral Constraints:A Fisherian Deflation of Tobin's Q," NBER Working Papers 12564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Paolo Mauro & Törbjörn I. Becker, 2006. "Output Drops and the Shocks That Matter," IMF Working Papers 06/172, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Diewart, W Erwin & Morrison, Catherine J, 1986. "Adjusting Output and Productivity Indexes for Changes in the Terms of Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 659-79, September.
  12. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2008. "Sudden Stops, Sectoral Reallocations, and the Real Exchange Rate," NBER Working Papers 14395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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