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Factor Proportions and International Business Cycles

  • Keyu Jin
  • Nan Li

Positive investment comovements across OECD economies as observed in the data are difficult to replicate in open-economy real business cycle models, but also vary substantially in degree for individual country-pairs. This paper shows that a two-country stochastic growth model that distinguishes sectors by factor intensity (capital-intensive vs. labor-intensive) gives rise to an endogenous channel of the international transmission of shocks that first, can substantially ameliorate the "quantity anomalies" that mark large open-economy models, and second, generate a cross-sectional prediction that is strongly supported by the data: investment correlations tend to be stronger for country-pairs that exhibit greater disparity in the factor-intensity of trade. In addition, three new pieces of evidence support the central mechanism: (1) the production composition of capital versus labor-intensive sectors changes over the business cycle; (2) the prices of capital-intensive goods and labor-intensive goods are respectively, procyclical and countercyclical; (3) a positive productivity shock in the U.S. tilts the composition of production towards capital-intensive sectors in other countries.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1090.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1090
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Linda Tesar & Ariel Burstein & Chris Kurz, 2005. "Trade, Production Sharing and the International Transmission of Business Cycles," 2005 Meeting Papers 304, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  7. Steve Ambler & Emanuela Cardia & Christian Zimmermann, 1998. "International Transmission of the Business Cycle in a Multi-Sectoral Model," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 60, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  8. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-85, March.
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  12. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  15. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2010. "Putting the Parts Together: Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 95-124, April.
  16. Baxter, Marianne & Kouparitsas, Michael A., 2005. "Determinants of business cycle comovement: a robust analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 113-157, January.
  17. Costello, Donna M, 1993. "A Cross-Country, Cross-Industry Comparison of Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 207-22, April.
  18. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  19. Engel, Charles & Wang, Jian, 2011. "International trade in durable goods: Understanding volatility, cyclicality, and elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 37-52, January.
  20. Backus, David K. & Smith, Gregor W., 1993. "Consumption and real exchange rates in dynamic economies with non-traded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 297-316, November.
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