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Trade reforms and current account imbalances

  • Ju, Jiandong



  • Shi , Kang



  • Wei , Shang-Jin



In partial equilibrium, a reduction in import barriers may be thought to lead to an increase in imports and a reduction in trade surplus. However, the general equilibrium effect can go in the opposite direction. We study how trade reforms affect current accounts by embedding a modified Heckscher-Ohlin structure and an endogenous discount factor into an intertemporal model of current account. We show that trade liberalizations in a developing country would generally lead to capital outflow. In contrast, trade liberalizations in a developed country would result in capital inflow. Thus, efficient trade reforms can contribute to global current account imbalances, but these imbalances do not need policy "corrections".

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Paper provided by Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition in its series BOFIT Discussion Papers with number 25/2013.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 04 Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofitp:2013_025
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bank of Finland, BOFIT, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Phone: + 358 10 831 2268
Fax: + 358 10 831 2294
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  1. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2009. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," NBER Working Papers 15093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 16000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ju, Jiandong & Shi, Kang & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2012. "On the connection between intra-temporal and intertemporal trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 8838, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Chris Papageorgiou & Subir Lall & Florence Jaumotte, 2008. "Rising Income Inequality: Technology, or Trade and Financial Globalization?," IMF Working Papers 08/185, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Uribe, Martin, 1997. "Exchange-rate-based inflation stabilization: The initial real effects of credible plans," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 197-221, July.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld, 1982. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 251-270.
  7. Horag Choi & Nelson C. Mark & Donggyu Sul, 2007. "Endogenous Discounting, the World Saving Glut and the U.S. Current Account," NBER Working Papers 13571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Chadwick C. Curtis & Nelson Mark, 2010. "Business Cycles, Consumption and Risk-Sharing: How Different Is China?," NBER Working Papers 16154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Jiandong Ju & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Current Account Adjustment: Some New Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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