Tariffs, Terms or Trade, and The Real Exchange Rate in and Intertemporal Optimizing Model of the Current Account
In this paper a minimal general equilibrium intertemporal model, with optimizing consumers and producers, is developed to analyze the process of real exchange rate determination. The model is completely real, and considers a small open economy that produces and consumes three goods each period. The model is also used to analyze the way in which the current account responds to several shocks. The working of the model is illustrated for the case of two disturbances: the imposition of import tariffs, and external terms of trade shocks. In the case of import tariffs, a distinction is made between temporary, anticipated, and permanent changes. It is shown that, without imposing rigidities or adjustment costs, interesting paths for the equilibrium real exchange rate can be generated. In particular "overshooting" and movements in opposite directions in periods one and two can be observed. Precise conditions under which temporary import tariffs will improve the current account are derived. Finally, several ways in which the model can be extended to take into account other issues such as changes in the fiscal deficit, and financial deregulation are discussed in detail.
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