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Are shocks to the terms of trade shocks to productivity?

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  • Timothy J. Kehoe
  • Kim J. Ruhl

Abstract

International trade is frequently thought of as a production technology in which the inputs are> exports and the outputs are imports. Exports are transformed into imports at the rate of the price> of exports relative to the price of imports: the reciprocal of the terms of trade. Cast this way, a> change in the terms of trade acts as a productivity shock. Or does it? In this paper, we show that> this line of reasoning cannot work in standard models. Starting with a simple model and then> generalizing, we show that changes in the terms of trade have no first-order effect on> productivity when output is measured as chain-weighted real GDP. The terms of trade do affect> real income and consumption in a country, and we show how measures of real income change> with the terms of trade at business cycle frequencies and during financial crises.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2007. "Are shocks to the terms of trade shocks to productivity?," Staff Report 391, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:391
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; National income; Gross domestic product;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies

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