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Trade wedges, inventories, and international business cycles

  • George Alessandria
  • Joseph Kaboski
  • Virgiliu Midrigan

The large, persistent fluctuations in international trade that cannot be explained in standard models by changes in expenditures and relative prices are often attributed to trade wedges. We show that these trade wedges can reflect the decisions of importers to change their inventory holdings. We find that a two-country model of international business cycles with an inventory management decision can generate trade flows and wedges consistent with the data. Moreover, matching trade flows alters the international transmission of business cycles. Specifically, real net exports become countercyclical and consumption is less correlated across countries than in standard models. We also show that ignoring inventories as a source of trade wedges substantially overstates the role of trade wedges in business cycle fluctuations.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 12-16.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:12-16
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  1. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2011. "U.S. trade and inventory dynamics," Working Papers 11-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Ghironi, Fabio & Melitz, Marc, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3228377, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. V. V Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Can Sticky Price Models Generate Volatile and Persistent Real Exchange Rates?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 533-563.
  4. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-75, August.
  5. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "Dynamics of the trade balance and the terms of trade: the S-curve," Working Paper 9211, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Logan Lewis & Linda Tesar & Andrei Levchenko, 2010. "The Collapse of International Trade During the 2008-2009 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun," 2010 Meeting Papers 109, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Raffo, Andrea, 2008. "Net exports, consumption volatility and international business cycle models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 14-29, May.
  8. Jian Wang & Charles Engel, 2008. "International Trade in Durable Goods: Understanding Volatility, Cyclicality, and Elasticities," 2008 Meeting Papers 210, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. George Alessandria & Joseph Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2012. "Trade Wedges, Inventories, and International Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 18191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Sam & Neiman, Brent & Romalis, John, 2013. "Trade and the Global Recession," Working Papers 2013-21, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  11. Aubhik Khan & Julia Thomas, 2003. "Inventories and the Business Cycle: An Equilibrium Analysis of (S,s) Policies," NBER Working Papers 10078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Tryphon E. Kollintzas & Steven L Husted, 1983. "Distributed Lags and Intermediate Good Imports," Discussion Papers 552, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1990. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," NBER Working Papers 3566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Baxter, M. & Crucini, M., 1991. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," RCER Working Papers 316, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  15. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "Inventories, Lumpy Trade, and Large Devaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2304-39, December.
  16. George Alessandria & Horag Choi, 2005. "Do sunk costs of exporting matter for net export dynamics?," Working Papers 05-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  17. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2007. "EXPLAINING INVENTORIES: A BUSINESS CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF THE STOCKOUT AVOIDANCE AND (S,s) MOTIVES," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(05), pages 638-664, November.
  18. 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.
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