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Product durability and trade volatility

  • Dimitra Petropoulou
  • Kwok Tong Soo

One of the main causes behind the trade collapse of 2008–09 was a significant fall in the demand for durable goods. This paper develops a small country, overlapping generations model of international trade in which goods durability gives rise to a more than proportional fall in trade volumes, as observed in 2008–09. The model has three goods—two durable, traded goods and one nondurable, nontraded good and two factors of production. The durability of goods affects consumers' lifetime wealth and their optimal consumption bundle across goods and time periods. A uniform productivity shock reduces consumers' lifetime wealth inducing a re-optimisation away from durables. This gives rise to a more than proportional effect on international trade, provided the nontraded sector is sufficiently capital intensive. The elasticity of trade flows to GDP is found to be increasing in both the degree of durability and the size of the shock.> ; Thus the model provides microfoundations for the asymmetric shock to the demand for durable goods observed in recessions and clarifies the link between this endogenous shift in preferences and international trade flows. It also explains the observation that deeper downturns are associated with a higher elasticity of trade to GDP. Furthermore, the greater the degree of durability of traded goods, the larger is the share of domestically produced goods in consumption, for plausible factor intensities. This provides an alternative explanation for the home bias in consumption, and hence another explanation for Trefler’s "missing trade."

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File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/institute/wpapers/2011/0094.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper with number 94.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:94
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  1. Olivier CARDI & Romain RESTOUT, 2011. "Fiscal Shocks in a Two-Sector Open Economy," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. Christopher Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2006. "Trade Adjustment and the Composition of Trade," 2006 Meeting Papers 788, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Mary Amiti & David E. Weinstein, 2011. "Exports and Financial Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1841-1877.
  4. Kei-Mu Yi & Rudolfs Bems & Robert C. Johnson, 2010. "Demand Spillovers and the Collapse of Trade in the Global Recession," IMF Working Papers 10/142, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Behrens, Kristian & Corcos, Gregory & Mion, Giordano, 2010. "Trade Crisis? What Trade Crisis?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Andrei A. Levchenko & Logan Lewis & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "The Collapse of International Trade During the 2008-2009 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun," Working Papers 592, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  7. Jian Wang, 2010. "Durable goods and the collapse of global trade," Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, vol. 5(feb).
  8. Chor, Davin & Manova, Kalina, 2012. "Off the cliff and back? Credit conditions and international trade during the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 117-133.
  9. Sam Kortum & John Romalis & Brent Neiman & Jonathan Eaton, 2010. "Trade and the Global Recession," 2010 Meeting Papers 1340, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "The Great Trade Collapse of 2008-09: An Inventory Adjustment?," NBER Working Papers 16059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "The great trade collapse of 2008-2009: an inventory adjustment?," Working Papers 10-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. Harry Flam, 1985. "A Heckscher-Ohlin Analysis of the Law of Declining International Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(3), pages 602-15, August.
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