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Housing Markets and Current Account Dynamics

  • Gete, Pedro
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    This paper makes a theoretical and an empirical contribution to the debate on what caused the "global imbalances". On the empirical side, I provide different types of evidence to support that housing demand shocks (shocks to the aggregate marginal rate of substitution between housing and tradables) help to explain the global imbalances. On the theory side, I show that shocks to the demand for housing generate trade deficits without need for the standard ingredients used by others to model housing (wealth effects or trade in capital goods). I model housing as a durable and nontradable good. Countries import tradable goods during periods when more domestic labor is devoted to produce nontradables to smooth consumption between tradables and nontradables. Housing booms are larger if the country can run a trade deficit because the deficit lowers the opportunity cost of building, which is the foregone consumption of tradable goods due to reallocation of labor to the construction sector. Concerning the empirical evidence, I first document that over the last decade there has been a strong cross-country correlation between housing variables and current account dynamics. Second, I show that using the cross-country dynamics of employment in construction as the explanatory variable, the model generates current account dynamics matching recent global imbalances. Finally, I use sign restrictions implied by the model to estimate a vector autoregression and identify the effects of housing demand shocks on the U.S. trade deficit. The results suggest that housing shocks matter for current account dynamics.

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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 20957.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2009
    Date of revision: 24 Feb 2010
    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20957
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    1. Buiter, Willem H., 2009. "Housing wealth isn't wealth," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-56, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    2. Bems, Rudolfs & Dedola, Luca & Smets, Frank, 2007. "US imbalances: The role of technology and policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 523-545, June.
    3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 11996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2008. "Current account patterns and national real estate markets," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1rh4s127, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    5. Dedola, Luca & Neri, Stefano, 2006. "What does a technology shock do? A VAR analysis with model-based sign restrictions," Working Paper Series 0705, European Central Bank.
    6. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
    7. Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez & Daniel Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2006. "Markov-Switching Structural Vector Autoregressions: Theory and Application," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 69, Society for Computational Economics.
    8. Ariel Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2004. "Investment Prices and Exchange Rates: Some Basic Facts," NBER Working Papers 10238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Sims, Christopher A & Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1990. "Inference in Linear Time Series Models with Some Unit Roots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 113-44, January.
    10. Matteo Iacoviello & Stefano Neri, 2010. "Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from an Estimated DSGE Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 125-64, April.
    11. Matteo Iacoviello, 2002. "House prices, borrowing constraints and monetary policy in the business cycle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 542, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 06 Dec 2004.
    12. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Alexander Michaelides & Kalin Nikolov, 2010. "Winners and Losers in House Markets," Working Papers 2010-5, Central Bank of Cyprus.
    13. Nathalie Girouard & Mike Kennedy & Paul van den Noord & Christophe André, 2006. "Recent House Price Developments: The Role of Fundamentals," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 475, OECD Publishing.
    14. Edward E. Leamer, 2007. "Housing IS the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 13428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Joseph Gruber & Steven Kamin, 2009. "Do Differences in Financial Development Explain the Global Pattern of Current Account Imbalances?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 667-688, 09.
    16. Tesar, Linda L., 1993. "International risk-sharing and non-traded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 69-89, August.
    17. Mark Doms & John Krainer, 2007. "Innovations in mortgage markets and increased spending on housing," Working Paper Series 2007-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    18. Oriol Aspachs-Bracons & Pau Rabanal, 2010. "The drivers of housing cycles in Spain," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 101-130, March.
    19. Fabio Canova & Gianni De Nicolo, 2000. "Monetary disturbances matter for business fluctuations in the G-7," International Finance Discussion Papers 660, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    20. Erceg, Christopher & Levin, Andrew, 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with durable consumption goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1341-1359, October.
    21. John N. Muellbauer, 2007. "Housing, credit and consumer expenditure," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 267- 334.
    22. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1990. "Residential investment and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 137-153, February.
    23. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Alexander Michaelides & Kalin Nikolov, 2007. " Winners and Losers in Housing Markets," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0705, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    24. James A. Kahn, 2008. "What drives housing prices?," Staff Reports 345, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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