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Transitory Terms-of-Trade Shocks and the Current Account: The Case of Constant Time Preference

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  • Maurice Obstfeld

Abstract

The paper uses an intertemporal perfect-foresight optimizing model to analyze the effect of transitory terms-of-trade shocks on a small open . economy's current-account and utility time profiles. An adverse terms-of-trade shift known to be temporary induces the economy to run down its stock of external assets in the period before the terms of trade revert to their initial level. Subsequently, the assets consumed during this period are reaccumulated. The current-account response is due only in part to a desire to smooth out the future consumption stream. In addition, households know that the real value of any debt incurred while the terms of trade are unfavorable will be reduced sharply when the terms of trade improve. This opportunity for intertemporal price speculation causes the time path of instantaneous utility to be discontinuous,

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Obstfeld, 1982. "Transitory Terms-of-Trade Shocks and the Current Account: The Case of Constant Time Preference," NBER Working Papers 0834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0834
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    2. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1981. "Macroeconomic Policy, Exchange-Rate Dynamics, and Optimal Asset Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1142-1161, December.
    3. Nancy Peregrim Marion, 1981. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Oil Price Increases and the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 0759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1983. "Real Interest Rates, Home Goods, and Optimal External Borrowing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 141-153, February.
    5. Rudiger Dornbusch & Paul Krugman, 1976. "Flexible Exchange Rates in the Short Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(3), pages 537-584.
    6. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1981. "The Current Account and macroeconomic Adjustment in the 1970s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 201-282.
    7. Hamada, Koichi, 1969. "Optimal Capital Accumulation by an Economy Facing an International Capital Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 684-697, Part II, .
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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco Rosende & Roberto Toso, 1984. "Una Explicación para la Tasa de Interés Real en Chile en el Período 1975-1983," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 21(62), pages 25-36.
    2. Alberto Petrucci, 2004. "Asset Accumulation, Fertility Choice and Nondegenerate Dynamics in a Small Open Economy," Working Papers 2004.121, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 43-65, February.
    4. Hung-Ju Chen & Chen-Min Hsu, 2006. "Current Account, Capital Formation and Terms of Trade Shocks: a Revisit of the Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 179-201, August.

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