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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. Jian Wang & Charles Engel, 2008. "International Trade in Durable Goods: Understanding Volatility, Cyclicality, and Elasticities," 2008 Meeting Papers 210, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Brent Neiman & John Romalis, 2011. "Trade and the Global Recession," NBER Working Papers 16666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2008. "Inventories, lumpy trade, and large devaluations," Working Paper Series WP-08-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Amiti, Mary & Weinstein, David E., 2009. "Exports and Financial Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andrei A. Levchenko & Logan Lewis & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "The Collapse of International Trade During the 2008-2009 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun," Working Papers 592, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  6. Davin Chor & Kalina Manova, 2010. "Off the Cliff and Back? Credit Conditions and International Trade during the Global Financial Crisis," Working Papers 08-2010, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  7. Virgiliu Midrigan & Joseph Kaboski & George Alessandria, 2010. "The Great Trade Collapse of 2008-09: An Inventory Adjustment?," 2010 Meeting Papers 107, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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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