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Firm Dynamics and Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations: Does Trade Openness Matter? Evidence from Mexico´s Manufacturing Sector

  • Miguel Fuentes
  • Pablo Ibarrarán

In this paper we study the effect of NAFTA on the responsiveness of the Mexican economy to real exchange rate shocks. We argue that, by opening the U.S. and Canadian markets to Mexican goods, NAFTA made it easier for domestic producers to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the depreciation of the real exchange rate. To identify this mechanism, we use plant-level data and compare the behavior of employment, production and investment after two big real exchange rate shocks: the first observed in the mid 1980s, the second the Tequila Crisis of 1994-1995. The evidence indicates that after passage of NAFTA exporting firms exhibited higher growth rates of employment, sales, and investment vis-à-vis non-exporters. We confirm our results by analyzing the behavior of a control group of firms, that had complete access to the U.S. market during both devaluations, and we show that they responded in a similar way in both events. Finally, we also provide direct evidence on the relationship between exports and tariff reductions brought about by NAFTA. Our results support the view that NAFTA has allowed Mexican producers to respond more quickly to real exchange rate shocks.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 583.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:583
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  1. Pratap, Sangeeta & Lobato, Ignacio & Somuano, Alejandro, 2003. "Debt composition and balance sheet effects of exchange rate volatility in Mexico: a firm level analysis," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 450-471, December.
  2. Sangeeta Pratap & Carlos Urrutia, 2004. "Firm Dynamics, Investment, and Debt Portfolio: Balance Sheet Effects of the Mexican Crisis of 1994," Working Papers 0406, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  3. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1995. "Trade, Technology, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Brian Aitken & Ann Harrison & Robert E. Lipsey, 1995. "Wages and Foreign Ownership: A Comparative Study of Mexico, Venezuela and the United States," NBER Working Papers 5102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. M. Ayhan Kose & Christopher M. Towe & Guy Meredith, 2004. "How Has Nafta Affected the Mexican Economy? Review and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 04/59, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Gelos, R. Gaston & Werner, Alejandro M., 2002. "Financial liberalization, credit constraints, and collateral: investment in the Mexican manufacturing sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-27, February.
  7. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi, 2003. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate, and Fiscal Sustainability: Argentina's Lessons," NBER Working Papers 9828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann & Lorenzo Martinez, 2004. "Nafta and Mexico Less-than-Steller Performance," UCLA Economics Working Papers 833, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Robert Dekle & Hyeok Jeong & Heajin Ryoo, 2006. "A Re-examination of the Exchange Rate Disconnect Puzzle: Evidence from Japanese Firm Level Data," IEPR Working Papers 06.46, Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR).
  10. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
  11. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2001. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 8629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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