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Trade Reforms and Current Account Imbalances: When Does the General Equilibrium Effect Overturn a Partial Equilibrium Intuition?

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  • Jiandong Ju
  • Kang Shi
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

While a reduction in import barriers in a partial equilibrium may be thought to lead to an increase in imports and a reduction in trade surplus, the general equilibrium effect can go in the opposite direction. We study how trade reforms affect current accounts by embedding a modified Heckscher-Ohlin structure and an endogenous discount factor into an intertemporal model of current account. We show that trade liberalizations in a developing country would generally lead to capital outflow. In contrast, trade liberalizations in a developed country would result in capital inflow. Thus, efficient trade reforms can contribute to global current account imbalances, but these imbalances do not need policy "corrections"

Suggested Citation

  • Jiandong Ju & Kang Shi & Shang-Jin Wei, 2012. "Trade Reforms and Current Account Imbalances: When Does the General Equilibrium Effect Overturn a Partial Equilibrium Intuition?," NBER Working Papers 18653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18653
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    Cited by:

    1. Ganelli, Giovanni & Tervala, Juha, 2015. "Value of WTO trade agreements in a New Keynesian model," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 347-362.
    2. Mina Kim, & Deokwoo Nam, & Jian Wang & Jason Wu,, 2013. "International Trade Price Stickiness and Exchange Rate Pass-through in Micro Data: A Case Study on US-China Trade," Working Papers 467, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    3. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2015. "Capital flows and the current account: Taking financing (more) seriously," BIS Working Papers 525, Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Haichao Fan & Yao Amber Li & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2017. "On the Relationship Between Quality and Productivity: Evidence from China's Accession to the WTO," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2017-46, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Oct 2017.
    5. Shenggen Fan & Ravi Kanbur & Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2013. "The Economics of China: Successes and Challenges," NBER Working Papers 19648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:pal:imfecr:v:65:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41308-017-0036-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Mina Kim & Deokwoo Nam & Jian Wang & Jason Wu, 2013. "International Trade Price Stickiness and Exchange Rate and Pass-Through in Micro Data: A Case Study on US-China Trade," Working Papers 202013, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
    8. Barattieri, Alessandro, 2014. "Comparative advantage, service trade, and global imbalances," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-13.

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    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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