IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Collapse of International Trade during the 2008–09 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun

  • Andrei A Levchenko
  • Logan T Lewis
  • Linda L Tesar

One of the most striking aspects of the recent recession is the collapse in international trade. This paper uses disaggregated data on U.S. imports and exports to shed light on the anatomy of this collapse. The paper finds that the recent reduction in trade relative to overall economic activity is far larger than in previous downturns. Information on quantities and prices of both domestic absorption and imports reveals a 40 percent shortfall in imports, relative to what would be predicted by a simple import demand relationship. In a sample of imports and exports disaggregated at the 6-digit NAICS level, the paper finds that sectors used as intermediate inputs experienced significantly higher percentage reductions in both imports and exports. It also finds support for compositional effects: sectors with larger reductions in domestic output had larger drops in trade. By contrast, the paper finds no support for the hypothesis that trade credit played a role in the recent trade collapse.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: Link to full text PDF
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

File URL:
File Function: Link to full text HTML
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal IMF Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 58 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 214-253

in new window

Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:58:y:2010:i:2:p:214-253
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Postal: Palgrave Macmillan Journals, Subscription Department, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, UK
Web: Email:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:58:y:2010:i:2:p:214-253. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Daniel Foley)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.