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Terms-of-trade shocks and optimal investment : another look at the Laursen-Metzler effect

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  • Serven, Luis

Abstract

Conventional analyses of the effect of terms-of-trade shocks provide a misleading view of their impact on investment and the current account, because capital goods imports are excluded from the analytical framework. The author argues that such an exclusion is both arbitrary and unrealistic. The author reexamines the consequences of permanent and transitory changes in terms of trade in a rational-expectations model of a small open economy with intertemporally optimizing agents, and with trade in both consumption and capital goods. In this framework, the responses to a permanent terms of trade improvement in unambiguous: the long-run capital stock, and thus investment, must rise, and the current account must deteriorate -- exactly the opposite of the Laursen-Metzler effect. A transitory improvement in the terms of trade raises saving but has an uncertaineffect on investment. So, the impact on the current account is generally ambiguous and is shown to depend on three factors: the import contents on consumption and investment, the duration of the windfall, and the degree of intertemporal substitutability in both consumption and investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1424.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 1995
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1424

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Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Fiscal&Monetary Policy; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; Financial Intermediation; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT;

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  1. Tornell, Aaron & Lane, Philip R., 1998. "Are windfalls a curse?: A non-representative agent model of the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 83-112, February.
  2. Lahiri, Amartya, 1996. "Intertemporal price speculation and the optimal current-account deficit: a comment," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 135-139, February.
  3. Gavin, Michael, 1991. "Income effects of adjustment to a terms of trade disturbance and the demand for adjustment finance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1-2), pages 127-153, November.
  4. Fumio Hayashi & Tohru Inoue, 1990. "The Relation Between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," NBER Working Papers 3326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1993. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Acocount," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 31, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  6. Gavin, Michael, 1990. "Structural adjustment to a terms of trade disturbance : The role of relative prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3-4), pages 217-243, May.
  7. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1983. "Real Interest Rates, Home Goods, and Optimal External Borrowing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 141-53, February.
  8. Obstfeld, Maurice & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Intertemporal Price Speculation and the Optimal Current-Account Deficit: Reply and Clarification," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt5n37z46f, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld, 1983. "Intertemporal Price Speculation and the Optimal Current-Account Deficit," NBER Working Papers 1100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Buiter, Willem H, 1984. "Saddlepoint Problems in Continuous Time Rational Expectations Models: A General Method and Some Macroeconomic Examples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 665-80, May.
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  12. Svensson, Lars E O & Razin, Assaf, 1983. "The Terms of Trade and the Current Account: The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 97-125, February.
  13. Macklem, R Tiff, 1993. "Terms-of-Trade Disturbances and Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 916-36, July.
  14. Svensson, Lars E O, 1984. "Oil Prices, Welfare, and the Trade Balance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 649-72, November.
  15. van Wincoop, Eric, 1993. "Structural adjustment and the construction sector," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 177-201, January.
  16. Gavin, Michael, 1992. "Monetary policy, exchange rates, and investment in a Keynesian economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 145-161, April.
  17. Sen, Partha & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 1989. "Deterioration of the terms of trade and capital accumulation: A re-examination of the Laursen-Metzler effect," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 227-250, May.
  18. Spatafora, Nikola & Warner, Andrew, 1995. "Macroeconomic effects of terms-of-trade shocks : the case of oil-exporting countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1410, The World Bank.
  19. Serven, Luis, 1995. "Capital goods imports, the real exchange rate and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 79-101, August.
  20. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1982. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 251-70, May.
  21. Cha, Baekin, 1993. "Dynamic effects of a terms-of-trade shock on a small open economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 205-209.
  22. Arvanitis, Athanasios V & Mikkola, Anne, 1996. "Asset-Market Structure and International Trade Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 67-70, May.
  23. Sadka, Joyce C. & Yi, Kei-Mu, 1996. "Consumer durables, permanent terms of trade shocks, and the recent US trade deficits," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 797-811, October.
  24. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1988. "Terms-of-Trade, Factor Intensities and the Current Account in a Life-Cycle Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 247-62, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Olivier, CARDI, 2005. "Another View of the J-Curve," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005029, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  2. Olivier Cardi, 2007. "The Zero-root Property: Permanent vs Temporary Terms-of-trade Shocks," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 782-802, 09.
  3. Nickel, Christiane & Vansteenkiste, Isabel, 2008. "Fiscal policies, the current account and Ricardian equivalence," Working Paper Series 0935, European Central Bank.
  4. CARDI, Oliver & BERTINELLI, Luisito, 2004. "A formal model of krugman’s intuition on the J-curve," CORE Discussion Papers 2004043, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. L. Sahely & R. Darius & O. Williams, 2001. "Terms of trade shocks and the current account in a unified currency area," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(8), pages 1179-1188.
  6. Lederman, Daniel & Menendez, Ana Maria & Perry, Guillermo & Stiglitz, Joseph, 2003. "Mexican investment after the Tequila crisis: basic economics, "confidence" effects or market imperfections?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 131-151, February.
  7. Tarlok Singh, 2007. "Intertemporal Optimizing Models Of Trade And Current Account Balance: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 25-64, 02.
  8. Juliana Dutra Araujo & Grace Bin Li & Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro & Luis-Felipe Zanna, 2013. "Current Account Norms in Natural Resource Rich and Capital Scarce Economies," IMF Working Papers 13/80, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Roberto Duncan, 2003. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect Revisited: An Indirect-Utility-Function Approach," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 250, Central Bank of Chile.
  10. Aristovnik, Aleksander, 2006. "The Determinants & Excessiveness of Current Account Deficits in Eastern Europe & the Former Soviet Union," MPRA Paper 483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Huang, Kevin X.D. & Meng, Qinglai, 2007. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler effect under capital market imperfections," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1001-1015, October.
  12. Aleksander Aristovnik, 2006. "How Excessive are External Imbalances in Selected Transition Countries?," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2006(3), pages 243-267.
  13. Nadenichek, Jon, 2001. "Asset markets, relative price shocks and trade anomalies in international real business cycle models," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 183-203.

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