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Trade Crisis ? What Trade Crisis ?

  • Kristian Behrens
  • Gregory Corcos
  • Giordano Mion

We investigate the dramatic 2008-2009 trade collapse using microdata from a small open economy, Belgium. Belgian trade essentially fell because of reduced quantities and unit prices, rather than fewer firms involved in international transactions, fewer trading partners per firm, or fewer products traded. Our difference-in-difference results point to a fall in the demand or tradables – especially durables and capital goods – as the main driver of the recent collapse. Finance and involvement in global value chains player only minor roles. Firm-level exports-to-turnover and imports-to-intermediates – as well as exports-to-production and imports-to-production – ratios reveal a comparable collapse of domestic and cross-border operations. Access to credit affected both types of activities to the same extent. Overall, our results point to a general fall in demand and not a crisis of Belgian cross-border trade per se.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1117.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1117
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  1. Mary Amiti & David E. Weinstein, 2011. "Exports and Financial Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1841-1877.
  2. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Yvan Decreux & Lionel Fontagné & David Khoudour-Castéras, 2009. "Economic Crisis and Global Supply Chains," Working Papers 2009-15, CEPII research center.
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  4. Kristian Behrens & Gregory Corcos & Giordano Mion, 2010. "Trade crisis ? What trade crisis ?," Working Paper Research 195, National Bank of Belgium.
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  15. Freund, Caroline, 2009. "The trade response to global downturns : historical evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5015, The World Bank.
  16. Bricongne, J-C. & Fontagné, L. & Gaulier, G. & Taglioni, D. & Vicard, V., 2009. "Firms and the global crisis: French exports in the turmoil," Working papers 265, Banque de France.
  17. Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
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