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International Trade in Durable Goods: Understanding Volatility, Cyclicality, and Elasticities

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  • Jian Wang

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

  • Charles Engel

    (University of Wisconsin)

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. The model is able to match many dimensions of the data, which suggests that trade in durable goods may be an important element in open-economy macro models.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 210.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:210

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