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Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later

  • Persson, Torsten
  • Svensson, Lars E O

The current account dynamics is examined for a small open economy which is subject to exogenous changes in its static terms of trade and in world interest rates. The model used is one with overlapping finite-lived generations, which we argue gives rise to a more reasonable saving behaviour than previously used models with infinite lived consumers.In particular no restrictions on the rate of time preference is required.Anticipated and unanticipated, as well as temporary and permanent,terms of trade changes have very different effects. There is, however,a general tendency towards cycles in both savings and investment,which gives rise to cycles in the current account.The classic Harberger-Laursen-Metzler effect on saving of a terms of trade deterioration can have any sign for plausible parameter values,both for temporary and permanent disturbances.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/261286
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 93 (1985)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 43-65

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:93:y:1985:i:1:p:43-65
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1982. "Transitory Terms-of-Trade Shocks and the Current Account: The Case of Constant Time Preference," NBER Working Papers 0834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Persson, Torsten, 1985. "Deficits and intergenerational welfare in open economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 67-84, August.
  3. Joel Fried, 1980. "The Intergenerational Distribution of the Gains from Technical Change and from International Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(1), pages 65-81, February.
  4. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1981. "Intergenerational and International Trade," NBER Working Papers 0792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Razin, Assaf, 1984. "Capital movements, intersectoral resource shifts and the trade balance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 135-152.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld, 1981. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," NBER Working Papers 0686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1982. "Oil Prices, Welfare and the Trade Balance: An Intertemporal Approach," NBER Working Papers 0991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Buiter, Willem H, 1981. "Time Preference and International Lending and Borrowing in an Overlapping-Generations Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 769-97, August.
  9. Kareken, John & Wallace, Neil, 1977. "Portfolio autarky: A welfare analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 19-43, February.
  10. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1984. "The role of saving and investment in exchange rate determination under alternative monetary mechanisms," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 307-325, May.
  11. 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.
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