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Trade, Gravity and Sudden Stops: On How Commercial Trade Can Increase the Stability of Capital Flows

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  • Eduardo A. Cavallo

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Abstract

Financial stability is an important policy objective, since crises are associated with large economic, social and political costs. Promoting stability requires preventing sudden stops in capital flows, which are events in which foreign financing abruptly disappears. This paper contributes to the discussion by providing new theoretical and empirical evidence on the causal connection between lack of exposure to commercial trade and proclivity to sudden stops. On the theoretical front, the paper shows how exposure to trade raises the creditworthiness of countries and reduces the probability of sudden stops. In relatively closed economies, sudden stops (when they occur) are more harmful and thus the option to default on the inherited debt is more attractive. Therefore, conditional on the amount that lenders are willing to loan, decreased exposure to trade increases the likelihood of default. A sudden stop takes place when the borrowers reject the amount that lenders want to loan: they receive no new funding and they concurrently default on the outstanding debt to ease the pain. This proposition is tested using gravity estimates, which are based on countries geographic characteristics, as appropriate instruments for trade. The results indicate that, all else equal, a 10 percentage point decrease in the trade to GDP ratio increases the probability of a sudden stop between 30 percent and 40 percent. The policy implications are unambiguous: increasing the tradable component of a country's GDP will, ceteris paribus, reduce the vulnerability of that country to sudden stops in capital flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo A. Cavallo, 2006. "Trade, Gravity and Sudden Stops: On How Commercial Trade Can Increase the Stability of Capital Flows," Research Department Publications 4491, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4491
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    Cited by:

    1. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Andrés Velasco, 2006. "Quid pro Quo: National Institutions and Sudden Stops in International Capital Movements," Research Department Publications 4490, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Cavallo, Eduardo & Powell, Andrew & Pedemonte, Mathieu & Tavella, Pilar, 2015. "A new taxonomy of Sudden Stops: Which Sudden Stops should countries be most concerned about?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 47-70.
    3. Eduardo A. Cavallo, 2008. "Output Volatility and Openness to Trade: a Reassessment," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2008), pages 105-152, September.
    4. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2005. "Contractionary Currency Crashes in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 11508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Cavallo, Eduardo A. & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2008. "Does openness to trade make countries more vulnerable to sudden stops, or less? Using gravity to establish causality," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1430-1452, December.
    6. Gordon H. Hanson & Craig McIntosh, 2012. "Birth Rates and Border Crossings: Latin American Migration to the US, Canada, Spain and the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 707-726, June.
    7. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2008. "Assessing the Emerging Global Financial Architecture: Measuring the Trilemma's Configurations over Time," NBER Working Papers 14533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2012. "The Financial Crisis, Rethinking of the Global Financial Architecture, and the Trilemma," Chapters,in: Monetary and Currency Policy Management in Asia, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    10. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2010. "The emerging global financial architecture: Tracing and evaluating new patterns of the trilemma configuration," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 615-641, June.
    11. Kurz, Christopher & Senses, Mine Z., 2016. "Importing, exporting, and firm-level employment volatility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 160-175.
    12. Hanson, Gordon H. & Xiang, Chong, 2013. "Exporting Christianity: Governance and doctrine in the globalization of US denominations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 301-320.
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