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Distribution Costs and International Business Cycles

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  • P. Marcelo Oviedo
  • Rajesh Singh

    ()
    (Economics Iowa State University)

Abstract

Backus, Kehoe, and Kydland (International Real Business Cycles, JPE, 100(4),1992) documented several discrepancies between the observed post-war business cycles of developed countries and the predictions of a two-country, complete-market model. The main discrepancy termed as the “quantity anomaly†that cross-country consumption correlations are higher than that of output in the model as opposed to data, has remained a central puzzle in international economics. In order to resolve this puzzle mainly two strategies: restrictions on asset trade, and introducing non-traded goods in the model, have been employed by researchers. While these extensions have been successful in closing the gap to some extent, the ordering of correlations has stayed unchanged: consumption correlations still exceed that of output. This paper attempts to resolve the quantity puzzle by introducing non-traded distribution costs in the retailing of traded goods. In a standard two-good model traded output and traded consumption, by definition, are identical goods. With distribution costs, traded output and consumption are two distinct entities as each unit of final traded consumption good incorporates a unit of traded good and a fixed amount of non-traded goods. Thus, effectively, the model with distribution costs can be viewed as a model without distribution costs but with a modified utility function that has a substantially stronger complementarity between traded and non-traded goods. In a simple two-good extension of the Backus, Kehoe, and Kydland model, it is shown that the cross-country consumption and output correlations are 0.55 and 0.30, respectively, whereas with distribution costs consumption correlation reduces to 0.09, output correlation to 0.23. Incorporating distribution costs, in addition, improves the model’s performance in matching the volatility of real exchange rates and the correlation of net exports with output. These improvements are achieved without sacrificing the model's performance in any other dimension.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 808.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:808

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Keywords: open economy business cycles; quantity puzzle; distribution costs;

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  1. Michael A. Kouparitsas, 1996. "North-South business cycles," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Marianne Baxter & Mario J. Crucini, 1992. "Business cycles and the asset structure of foreign trade," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 59, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. 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.
  4. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 1999. "Financial Autarky and International Business Cycles," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 320, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 30 Apr 2000.
  5. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1991. "Tastes and technology in a two-country model of the business cycle: explaining international co-movements," Working Paper 9019, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Ambler, Steve & Cardia, Emanuela & Zimmermann, Christian, 2002. "International transmission of the business cycle in a multi-sector model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 273-300, February.
  7. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  8. Patrick J. Kehoe & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "International Business Cycles with Endogenous Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 907-928, May.
  9. Robert Kollmann, 1996. "Incomplete asset markets and the cross-country consumption correlation puzzle," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7640, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Thoenissen, 2006. "Real Exchange Rate Volatility and Asset Market Structure," CDMA Working Paper Series 200609, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis, revised 15 Oct 2006.

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