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Estimating Trade Elasticities: Demand Composition and the Trade Collapse of 2008-2009


  • Matthieu Bussière
  • Giovanni Callegari
  • Fabio Ghironi
  • Giulia Sestieri
  • Norihiko Yamano


This paper introduces a new empirical model of international trade flows based on an import intensity-adjusted measure of aggregate demand. We compute the import intensity of demand components by using the OECD Input-Output tables. We argue that the composition of demand plays a key role in trade dynamics because of the relatively larger movements in the most import-intensive categories of expenditure (especially investment, but also exports). We provide evidence in favor of these mechanisms for a panel of 18 OECD countries, paying particular attention to the 2008–2009 Great Trade Collapse.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthieu Bussière & Giovanni Callegari & Fabio Ghironi & Giulia Sestieri & Norihiko Yamano, 2013. "Estimating Trade Elasticities: Demand Composition and the Trade Collapse of 2008-2009," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 118-151, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:5:y:2013:i:3:p:118-51 Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.5.3.118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2008. "International Risk Sharing and the Transmission of Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 443-473.
    2. Bussière, Matthieu & Chudik, Alexander & Sestieri, Giulia, 2009. "Modelling global trade flows: results from a GVAR model," Working Paper Series 1087, European Central Bank.
    3. Hiau Looi Kee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2008. "Import Demand Elasticities and Trade Distortions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 666-682, November.
    4. Florin O. Bilbiie & Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2012. "Endogenous Entry, Product Variety, and Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(2), pages 304-345.
    5. Rudolfs Bems & Robert C Johnson & Kei-Mu Yi, 2010. "Demand Spillovers and the Collapse of Trade in the Global Recession," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 58(2), pages 295-326, December.
    6. Chor, Davin & Manova, Kalina, 2012. "Off the cliff and back? Credit conditions and international trade during the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 117-133.
    7. Hummels, David & Ishii, Jun & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2001. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 75-96, June.
    8. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Brent Neiman & John Romalis, 2016. "Trade and the Global Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3401-3438, November.
    9. Koen De Backer & Norihiko Yamano, 2007. "The Measurement of Globalisation using International Input-Output Tables," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2007/8, OECD Publishing.
    10. Feenstra, Robert C., 2003. "A homothetic utility function for monopolistic competition models, without constant price elasticity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 79-86, January.
    11. Dong Guo & Colin Webb & Norihiko Yamano, 2009. "Towards Harmonised Bilateral Trade Data for Inter-Country Input-Output Analyses: Statistical Issues," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2009/4, OECD Publishing.
    12. Norihiko Yamano & Nadim Ahmad, 2006. "The OECD Input-Output Database: 2006 Edition," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2006/8, OECD Publishing.
    13. Robert C. Feenstra & Zhiyuan Li & Miaojie Yu, 2014. "Exports and Credit Constraints under Incomplete Information: Theory and Evidence from China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(4), pages 729-744, October.
    14. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "The great trade collapse of 2008-2009: an inventory adjustment?," Working Papers 10-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    15. Johnson, Robert C. & Noguera, Guillermo, 2012. "Accounting for intermediates: Production sharing and trade in value added," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 224-236.
    16. Kohli, Ulrich, 1990. "Price and quantity elasticities in U.S. foreign trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 277-281, July.
    17. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Yvan Decreux & Lionel Fontagné & David Khoudour-Castéras, 2009. "Economic Crisis and Global Supply Chains," Working Papers 2009-15, CEPII research center.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises


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