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Trade, Gravity and Sudden Stops: On How Commercial Trade Can Increase the Stability of Capital Flows

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  • Eduardo A. Cavallo

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Abstract

Financial stability is an important policy objective, since crises are associated with large economic, social and political costs. Promoting stability requires preventing sudden stops in capital flows, which are events in which foreign financing abruptly disappears. This paper contributes to the discussion by providing new theoretical and empirical evidence on the causal connection between lack of exposure to commercial trade and proclivity to sudden stops. On the theoretical front, the paper shows how exposure to trade raises the creditworthiness of countries and reduces the probability of sudden stops. In relatively closed economies, sudden stops (when they occur) are more harmful and thus the option to default on the inherited debt is more attractive. Therefore, conditional on the amount that lenders are willing to loan, decreased exposure to trade increases the likelihood of default. A sudden stop takes place when the borrowers reject the amount that lenders want to loan: they receive no new funding and they concurrently default on the outstanding debt to ease the pain.  This proposition is tested using gravity estimates, which are based on countries geographic characteristics, as appropriate instruments for trade. The results indicate that, all else equal, a 10 percentage point decrease in the trade to GDP ratio increases the probability of a sudden stop between 30 percent and 40 percent. The policy implications are unambiguous: increasing the tradable component of a countrys GDP will, ceteris paribus, reduce the vulnerability of that country to sudden stops in capital flows.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4491.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4491

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  3. Frankel, Jeffrey & Cavallo, Eduardo, 2004. "Does Openness to Trade Make Countries More Vulnerable to Sudden Stops, or Less? Using Gravity to Establish Causality," Working Paper Series rwp04-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Jeffrey Frankel, 2007. "Does Openness to Trade Make Countries More Vulnerable to Sudden Stops, or Less? Using Gravity to Establish Causality," Research Department Publications 4544, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Gordon H. Hanson & Chong Xiang, 2011. "Exporting Christianity: Governance and Doctrine in the Globalization of US Denominations," NBER Working Papers 16964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gordon H. Hanson & Craig McIntosh, 2012. "Birth Rates and Border Crossings: Latin American Migration to the US, Canada, Spain and the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 707-726, 06.
  4. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2010. "The emerging global financial architecture: Tracing and evaluating new patterns of the trilemma configuration," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 615-641, June.
  5. Eduardo A. Cavallo, 2008. "Output Volatility and Openess to Trade: a Reassessment," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  6. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie David & Ito, Hiro, 2009. "Assessing the Emerging Global Financial Architecture: Measuring the Trilemma's Configurations over Time," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt840728sc, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  7. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2005. "Contractionary Currency Crashes In Developing Countries," Working Paper Series rwp05-017, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Uluc Aysun & Adam Honig, 2008. "Bankruptcy Costs, Liability Dollarization, and Vulnerability to Sudden Stops," Working papers 2008-41, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  9. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Andrés Velasco, 2006. "Quid pro Quo: National Institutions and Sudden Stops in International Capital Movements," Research Department Publications 4490, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  10. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinna & Hiro Ito, 2010. "The Financial Crisis, Rethinking of the Global Financial Architecture, and the Trilemma," Trade Working Papers 21873, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  11. EDWARDS, Jeffrey, 2009. "Trading Partner Volatility And The Ability For A Country To Cope: A Panel Gmm Model, 1970-2005," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 9(2).

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