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Commodity Booms and Busts in Emerging Economies

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  • Thomas Drechsel
  • Silvana Tenreyro

Abstract

Emerging economies, particularly those dependent on commodity exports, are prone to highly disruptive economic cycles. This paper proposes a small open economy model for a net commodity exporter to quantitatively study the triggers of these cycles. The economy consists of two sectors, one of which produces commodities with prices subject to exogenous international fluctuations. These fluctuations affect both the competitiveness of the economy and its borrowing terms, as higher commodity prices are associated with lower spreads between the country's borrowing rate and world interest rates. Both effects jointly result in strongly positive effects of commodity price increases on GDP, consumption and investment, and a negative effect on the total trade balance. Furthermore, they generate excess volatility of consumption over output and a large volatility of investment. The model structure nests various candidate sources of shocks proposed in previous work on emerging economy business cycles. Estimating the model on Argentine data, we find that the contribution of commodity price shocks to fluctuations in post-1950 output growth is in the order of 38%. In addition, commodity prices account for around 42% and 61% of the variation in consumption and investment growth, respectively. We find transitory productivity shocks to be an important driver of output fluctuations, exceeding the contribution of shocks to the trend, which is smaller, although not negligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Drechsel & Silvana Tenreyro, 2017. "Commodity Booms and Busts in Emerging Economies," NBER Working Papers 23716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23716
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    1. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1995. "The Terms of Trade, the Real Exchange Rate, and Economic Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 101-137, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kohn, David & Leibovici, Fernando & Tretvoll, Hakon, 2018. "Trade in Commodities and Business Cycle Volatility," Working Papers 2018-5, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. repec:eee:inecon:v:111:y:2018:i:c:p:99-121 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • 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
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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