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The Risk Content of Exports: A Portfolio View of International Trade

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  • Julian di Giovanni

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

It has been suggested that countries whose exports are in especially risky sectors will experience higher output volatility. This paper develops a measure of the riskiness of a country's pattern of export specialization, and illustrates its features across countries and over time. The exercise reveals large cross-country differences in the risk content of exports. This measure is strongly correlated with the volatility of terms-of-trade, total exports, and output, but does not exhibit a close relationship to the level of income, overall trade openness, or other country characteristics. We then propose an explanation for what determines the risk content of exports, based on the theoretical literature exemplified by Turnovsky (1974). Countries with a comparative advantage in safe sectors or a strong enough comparative advantage in risky sectors will specialize, whereas countries whose comparative advantage in risky sectors is not too strong will diversify their export structure to insure against export income risk. We use both non-parametric and semiparametric techniques to demonstrate that these theoretical predictions are strongly supported by the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2008. "The Risk Content of Exports: A Portfolio View of International Trade," Working Papers 581, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:581
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Joël Cariolle & Michaël Goujon, 2015. "Measuring Macroeconomic Instability: A Critical Survey Illustrated With Exports Series," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 1-26, February.
    2. Aleksandra Parteka, 2013. "The evolving structure of Polish exports (1994−2010) – diversification of products and trade partners," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 44(5), pages 435-466.
    3. repec:eee:inteco:v:151:y:2017:i:c:p:26-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Roberto Basile & Aleksandra Parteka & Rosanna Pittiglio, 2015. "Export diversification and economic development: a dynamic spatial data analysis," Gecomplexity Discussion Paper Series 15, Action IS1104 "The EU in the new complex geography of economic systems: models, tools and policy evaluation", revised Dec 2015.
    5. repec:eee:eecrev:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:240-279 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2009. "Trade Openness and Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 558-585, August.
    7. Joël CARIOLLE, 2012. "Measuring macroeconomic volatility - Applications to export revenue data, 1970-2005," Working Papers I14, FERDI.
    8. Nabil ALIMI, 2016. "The Effect Of Economic Freedom On Business Cycle Volatility: Case Of Developing Countries," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 43, pages 139-158.
    9. Federico Esposito, 2016. "Risk Diversification and International Trade," 2016 Meeting Papers 302, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Krishna, Pravin & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2013. "Comparative advantage, complexity, and volatility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 314-329.
    11. Julie Regolo, 2013. "Export Diversification: How Much Does the Choice of the Trading Partner Matter?," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 13072, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
    12. repec:spr:jsecdv:v:19:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40847-017-0037-z is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Franziska Bremus & Claudia M. Buch, 2015. "Banking Market Structure and Macroeconomic Stability: Are Low-Income Countries Special?," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 73-100, February.
    14. repec:mje:mjejnl:v:14:y:2018:i:1:p:159-170 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Regolo, Julie, 2013. "Export diversification: How much does the choice of the trading partner matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 329-342.
    16. Dalila Nicet-Chenaf & Eric Rougier, 2011. "New exports matter: Discoveries, foreign direct investment and growth, an empirical assessment for Middle East and North African countries," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 507-533.
    17. Maggioni, Daniela & Lo Turco, Alessia & Gallegati, Mauro, 2016. "Does product complexity matter for firms' output volatility?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 94-109.
    18. Dalila NICET- CHENAF (GREThA-GRES) & Eric ROUGIER (GREThA-GRES), 2008. "Recent exports matter: export discoveries, FDI and Growth, an empirical assessment for MENA countries," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2008-17, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
    19. repec:gen:geneem:13032 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Joël CARIOLLE, 2012. "Mesurer l’instabilité macroéconomique - Applications aux données de recettes d’exportation, 1970-2005," Working Papers I14, FERDI.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade; exports; risks;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General

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