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Financial Shocks, Customer Capital and the Trade Collapse of 2008-2009

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  • Alok Johri
  • Terry Yip

Abstract

The collapse in trade relative to GDP during 2008-09 was unusually large and also puzzling relative to the predictions of canonical two-country models. In a calibrated model of customer capital where firms must acquire a customer base before any sales can occur, we show that credit shocks can cause a fall in the trade-GDP ratio equal to 43 percent of the observed value. The key mechanism involves a reallocation of scarce marketing resources from international to domestic customers, who are acquired more cheaply. Bayesian estimation shows that financial shocks are important in accounting for recent fluctuations in the trade-GDP ratio.

Suggested Citation

  • Alok Johri & Terry Yip, 2015. "Financial Shocks, Customer Capital and the Trade Collapse of 2008-2009," Department of Economics Working Papers 2015-13, McMaster University, revised Sep 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2015-13
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    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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