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Net exports, consumption volatility, and international real business cycle models

  • Andrea Raffo

Conventional two-country RBC models interpret countercyclical net exports as reflecting, in large part, the dynamics of capital. I show that, quantitatively, theoretical economies rely on counterfactual terms of trade effects: trade fluctuations, on the contrary, are driven primarily by consumption smoothing, thus generating procyclical net trade in goods. I then consider a class of preferences that embeds home production in a reduced form: consumption volatility increases so that countercyclical net exports reflect primarily a strong relation between income and imports, as in the data. The major discrepancy between theory and data concerns the variability of international prices.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 06-01.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp06-01
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  1. Baxter, Marianne & Crucini, Mario J, 1995. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(4), pages 821-54, November.
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  7. Michael R. Pakko, 2003. "Substitution elasticities and investment dynamics in two country business cycle models," Working Papers 2002-030, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  8. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2002. "Financial autarky and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 601-627, April.
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  11. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "International evidence on the historical properties of business cycles," Staff Report 145, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Ellen R. McGrattan & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1995. "An equilibrium model of the business cycle with household production and fiscal policy," Staff Report 191, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri, 2007. "The international diversification puzzle is not as bad as you think," Staff Report 398, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
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  16. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1994. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The J-Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 84-103, March.
  17. Cole, Harold L. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Commodity trade and international risk sharing : How much do financial markets matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 3-24, August.
  18. Jess Benhabib & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "Homework in macroeconomics: household production and aggregate fluctuations," Staff Report 135, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Patrick J. Kehoe & Fabrizio Perri, 2000. "International Business Cycles with Endogenous Incomplete Markets," NBER Working Papers 7870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:3:p:533-63 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Baxter, Marianne, 1995. "International trade and business cycles," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 1801-1864 Elsevier.
  24. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1991. "Real Business Cycles in a Small Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 797-818, September.
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