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Terms of Trade Shocks and Incomplete Information

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  • Daniel Rees

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

Abstract

The terms of trade are subject to both permanent and transitory shocks. Particularly for commodity-producing small open economies, it is sometimes argued that the inability of agents to determine which of these shocks are permanent and which are transitory leads to more macroeconomic volatility than would be the case if agents had perfect information about the persistence of these shocks. I set up a small open economy model in which agents have imperfect information about the persistence of terms of trade shocks and estimate the parameters of the model using Australian data. The results point to the existence of large informational frictions. In fact, agents' beliefs about the future path of the terms of trade following transitory and permanent shocks are almost identical. However, the results also suggest that incomplete information causes agents to respond more cautiously to terms of trade shocks. Consequently, consumption, output and the trade balance are less volatile under incomplete information than they are under full information.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp2013-09.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2013-09

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Keywords: terms of trade; imperfect information; small open economy; real business cycle;

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  1. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2002. "Closing Small Open Economy Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 3096, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jonathan Kearns & Philip Lowe, 2011. "Australia's Prosperous 2000s: Housing and the Mining Boom," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Hugo Gerard & Jonathan Kearns (ed.), The Australian Economy in the 2000s Reserve Bank of Australia.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld, 1981. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," NBER Working Papers 0686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2007. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle is the Trend," Scholarly Articles 11988098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Otto, G., 2003. "Terms of trade shocks and the balance of trade: there is a Harberger-Laursen-Metzler effect," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 155-184, April.
  6. Broda, Christian, 2004. "Terms of trade and exchange rate regimes in developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 31-58, May.
  7. Michael Plumb & Christopher Kent & James Bishop, 2013. "Implications for the Australian Economy of Strong Growth in Asia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2013-03, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  8. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Emerging market business cycles: the cycle is the trend," Working Papers 04-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Boz, Emine & Daude, Christian & Bora Durdu, C., 2011. "Emerging market business cycles: Learning about the trend," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 616-631.
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Cited by:
  1. Tim Atkin & Mark Caputo & Tim Robinson & Hao Wang, 2014. "Macroeconomic Consequences of Terms of Trade Episodes, Past and Present," CEH Discussion Papers 22, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

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