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US Trade and Inventory Dynamics

  • George Alessandria
  • Joseph P. Kaboski
  • Virgiliu Midrigan

We examine the source of the large fall and rebound in US trade in the recent recession. While trade fell and rebounded more than expenditures or production of traded goods, we find that relative to the magnitude of the downturn, these trade fluctuations were in line with those in previous business cycle fluctuations. We argue that the high volatility of trade is attributed to more severe inventory management considerations of firms involved in international trade. We present empirical evidence for autos as well as at the aggregate level that the adjustment of inventory holdings help explain these fluctuations in trade.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 303-07

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:303-07
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  1. Sam Kortum & John Romalis & Brent Neiman & Jonathan Eaton, 2010. "Trade and the Global Recession," 2010 Meeting Papers 1340, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Mary Amiti & David E. Weinstein, 2009. "Exports and Financial Shocks," NBER Working Papers 15556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charles Engel & Jian Wang, 2008. "International Trade in Durable Goods: Understanding Volatility, Cyclicality, and Elasticities," NBER Working Papers 13814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrei A. Levchenko & Logan T. Lewis & Linda L. Tesar, 2010. "The Collapse of International Trade During the 2008-2009 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun," NBER Working Papers 16006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. George Alessandria & Joseph Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2008. "Inventories, lumpy trade, and large devaluations," Working Papers 08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Virgiliu Midrigan & Joe Kaboski & George Alessandria, 2012. "Trade, Inventories, and International Business Cycles," 2012 Meeting Papers 762, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "The Great Trade Collapse of 2008-09: An Inventory Adjustment?," NBER Working Papers 16059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Davin Chor & Kalina Manova, 2010. "Off the Cliff and Back? Credit Conditions and International Trade during the Global Fnancial Crisis," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Boileau, Martin, 1999. "Trade in capital goods and the volatility of net exports and the terms of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 347-365, August.
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