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Incomplete markets and trade


  • Paul S. Willen


In this paper, we show that incomplete markets lead to trade imbalances. We use a two-period general equilibrium model with countries composed of heterogeneous households. We look at a world where, when markets are complete, countries engage in balanced trade and we show that when some of those markets are absent, trade imbalances emerge. Market incompleteness across countries causes trade imbalances because national income in some countries is more sensitive to risky asset payoffs than in others. Market incompleteness within countries causes trade imbalances because superior risk-sharing in one country leads to a lower precautionary demand for saving.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul S. Willen, 2004. "Incomplete markets and trade," Working Papers 04-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:04-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boyd, John H. & Smith, Bruce D., 1992. "Intermediation and the equilibrium allocation of investment capital : Implications for economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 409-432, December.
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    3. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, July.
    4. Errunza, Vihang & Losq, Etienne, 1985. " International Asset Pricing under Mild Segmentation: Theory and Test," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(1), pages 105-124, March.
    5. Levine, Ross, 2005. "Finance and Growth: Theory and Evidence," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 865-934 Elsevier.
    6. Gertler, Mark & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "North-South lending and endogenous domestic capital market inefficiencies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 245-266, October.
    7. Demange Gabrielle & Laroque Guy, 1995. "Optimality of Incomplete Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 218-232, February.
    8. Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Trade in Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 375-394, June.
    9. Steven J. Davis & Jeremy Nalewaik & Paul Willen, 2000. "On the Gains to International Trade in Risky Financial Assets," NBER Working Papers 7796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Geanakoplos, John, 1990. "An introduction to general equilibrium with incomplete asset markets," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-38.
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    Cited by:

    1. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2007. "Financial Integration, Financial Deepness and Global Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 12909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2014. "External Adjustment, Global Imbalances, Valuation Effects," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Gregory Phelan & Alexis Akira Toda, 2015. "Securitized Markets, International Capital Flows, and Global Welfare," Department of Economics Working Papers 2015-14, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2016.
    4. Kunieda, Takuma, 2008. "Financial Globalization and Inequality," MPRA Paper 11343, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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