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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
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:12-16
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  1. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 599, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1987. "International real business cycles," Working Papers 426, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. George Alessandria & Horag Choi, 2005. "Do sunk costs of exporting matter for net export dynamics?," Working Papers 05-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Can sticky price models generate volatile and persistent real exchange rates?," Staff Report 277, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1991. "Tastes and technology in a two-country model of the business cycle: explaining international co-movements," Working Paper 9019, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Sam Kortum & John Romalis & Brent Neiman & Jonathan Eaton, 2010. "Trade and the Global Recession," 2010 Meeting Papers 1340, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. George Alessandria & Joseph Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2008. "Inventories, lumpy trade, and large devaluations," Working Paper Series WP-08-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, 2007. "Inventories and the Business Cycle: An Equilibrium Analysis of ( S, s ) Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1165-1188, September.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Charles Engel & Jian Wang, 2008. "International Trade in Durable Goods: Understanding Volatility, Cyclicality, and Elasticities," NBER Working Papers 13814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2011. "US Trade and Inventory Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 303-07, May.
  15. Raffo, Andrea, 2008. "Net exports, consumption volatility and international business cycle models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 14-29, May.
  16. 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.
  17. Alessandria, George & Kaboski, Joseph & Midrigan, Virgiliu, 2013. "Trade wedges, inventories, and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-20.
  18. 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.
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