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Trade patterns, trade balances and idiosyncratic shocks

Author

Listed:
  • Claudia Canals

    (La Caixa)

  • Xavier Gabaix

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics)

  • Josep M. Vilarrubia

    (Banco de España)

  • David Weinstein

    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

Abstract

International Macroeconomics has long sought an explanation for current account fluctuations that matches the data. The approaches have typically focused on better models and new macroeconomic variables. We demonstrate the limitations of this approach by showing that idiosyncratic shocks are an important cause of macroeconomic volatility even for large countries. When explaining these fluctuations, standard macroeconomic models generally assume that firms are small and that their microeconomic shocks cancel out. We show that the high degree of concentration of bilateral trade flows means that idiosyncratic shocks can have a significant impact on aggregate economic fluctuations. We theoretically develop a descomposition components. Taking the model to data on bilateral trade flows from 1970 to 1997, we find that the most comprehensive macroeconomic model can only account for at most half of the observed variance in trade account volumes of each country. Thus, this paper highlights the importance of considering disaggregated data when modeling the current account.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Canals & Xavier Gabaix & Josep M. Vilarrubia & David Weinstein, 2007. "Trade patterns, trade balances and idiosyncratic shocks," Working Papers 0721, Banco de España.
  • Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:0721
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/07/Fic/dt0721e.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Petr MATOUS & TODO Yasuyuki, 2014. "The Effects of Endogenous Interdependencies on Trade Network Formation across Space among Major Japanese Firms," Discussion papers 14020, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Asier Minondo, 2017. "Fundamental Versus Granular Comparative Advantage: An Analysis Using Chess Data," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 425-455, August.
    3. Juan Lucio & Raúl Mínguez & Asier Minondo & Francisco Requena, 2017. "The granularity of Spanish exports," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 225-259, August.
    4. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko & Isabelle Mejean, 2014. "Firms, Destinations, and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(4), pages 1303-1340, July.
    5. Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 733-772, May.
    6. Nieminen, Mika & Heimonen, Kari & Tohmo, Timo, 2017. "Current accounts and coordination of wage bargaining," BOFIT Discussion Papers 20/2017, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    7. Koji Nakamura & Sohei Kaihatsu & Tomoyuki Yagi, 2018. "Productivity Improvement and Economic Growth," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 18-E-10, Bank of Japan.
    8. Xavier Gabaix & Parameswaran Gopikrishnan & Vasiliki Plerou & H. Eugene Stanley, 2006. "Institutional Investors and Stock Market Volatility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 461-504.
    9. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2009. "International Trade and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," Working Papers 585, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    10. Maravall, A. & del Rio, A., 2007. "Temporal aggregation, systematic sampling, and the Hodrick-Prescott filter," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 975-998, October.
    11. Ignacio Rosal, 2018. "Power laws in EU country exports," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 311-337, May.
    12. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2012. "Country Size, International Trade, and Aggregate Fluctuations in Granular Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(6), pages 1083-1132.
    13. Isabel Argimón & Pablo Hernández de Cos, 2008. "The determinants of budget balances of the regional (Autonomous) governments," Working Papers 0803, Banco de España.
    14. Yoshihiko Hogen & Ko Miura & Koji Takahashi, 2017. "Large Firm Dynamics and Secular Stagnation: Evidence from Japan and the U.S," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 17-E-8, Bank of Japan.
    15. Aitor Erce, 2008. "A structural model of sovereign debt issuance: assessing the role of financial factors," Working Papers 0809, Banco de España.
    16. Nakamura, Koji & Kaihatsu, Sohei & Yagi, Tomoyuki, 2019. "Productivity improvement and economic growth: lessons from Japan," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 57-79.
    17. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel S. Kortum & Sebastian Sotelo, 2012. "International Trade: Linking Micro and Macro," NBER Working Papers 17864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Mika Nieminen & Kari Heimonen & Timo Tohmo, 2019. "Current Accounts and Coordination of Wage Bargaining," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 319-341, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade balance; trade concentration; firms; empirical;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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