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Trade Wedges, Inventories, and International Business Cycles

Listed author(s):
  • George Alessandria
  • Joseph Kaboski
  • Virgiliu Midrigan

The large, persistent fluctuations in international trade that can not be explained in standard models by changes in expenditures and relative prices are often attributed to trade wedges. We show that these trade wedges can reflect the decisions of importers to change their inventory holdings. We find that a two-country model of international business cycles with an inventory management decision can generate trade flows and wedges consistent with the data. Moreover, matching trade flows alters the international transmission of business cycles. Specifically, real net exports become countercyclical and consumption is less correlated across countries than in standard models. We also show that ignoring inventories as a source of trade wedges substantially overstates the role of trade wedges in business cycle fluctuations.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18191.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18191.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
Publication status: published as Alessandria, George & Kaboski, Joseph & Midrigan, Virgiliu, 2013. "Trade wedges, inventories, and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-20.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18191
Note: EFG IFM ITI
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  1. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "Inventories, Lumpy Trade, and Large Devaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2304-2339, December.
  2. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1994. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The J-Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 84-103, March.
  3. Baxter, Marianne & Crucini, Mario J, 1995. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(4), pages 821-854, November.
  4. George Alessandria & Horag Choi, 2007. "Do Sunk Costs of Exporting Matter for Net Export Dynamics?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 289-336.
  5. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 865-915.
  6. V. V Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Can Sticky Price Models Generate Volatile and Persistent Real Exchange Rates?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 533-563.
  7. Andrei A. Levchenko & Logan Lewis & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "The Collapse of International Trade During the 2008-2009 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun," Working Papers 592, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  8. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-185, March.
  9. Aubhik Khan & Julia K. Thomas, 2007. "Inventories and the Business Cycle: An Equilibrium Analysis of ( S , s ) Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1165-1188, September.
  10. Kollintzas, Tryphon E. & Husted, Steven L., 1984. "Distributed lags and intermediate good imports," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 303-327, December.
  11. Engel, Charles & Wang, Jian, 2011. "International trade in durable goods: Understanding volatility, cyclicality, and elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 37-52, January.
  12. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2007. "EXPLAINING INVENTORIES: A BUSINESS CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF THE STOCKOUT AVOIDANCE AND (S,s) MOTIVES," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(05), pages 638-664, November.
  13. Alessandria, George & Kaboski, Joseph & Midrigan, Virgiliu, 2013. "Trade wedges, inventories, and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-20.
  14. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2011. "US Trade and Inventory Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 303-307, May.
  15. Virgiliu Midrigan & Joe Kaboski & George Alessandria, 2012. "Trade, Inventories, and International Business Cycles," 2012 Meeting Papers 762, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-775, August.
  17. David Backus & Patrick Kehoe & Finn Kydland, 1992. "Dynamics of the trade balance and the terms of trade: the J-curve revisited," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 65, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Brent Neiman & John Romalis, 2016. "Trade and the Global Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3401-3438, November.
  19. Raffo, Andrea, 2008. "Net exports, consumption volatility and international business cycle models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 14-29, May.
  20. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "The great trade collapse of 2008-2009: an inventory adjustment?," Working Papers 10-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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