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Trade Adjustment and the Composition of Trade


  • Christopher Erceg
  • Luca Guerrieri

    () (International Finance Division Federal Reserve Board)

  • Christopher Gust


A striking feature of U.S. trade is that both imports and exports are heavily concentrated in capital goods and consumer durables. However, most open economy general equilibrium models ignore the marked divergence between the composition of trade flows and the sectoral composition of U.S. expenditure, and simply posit import and exports as depending on an aggregate measure of real activity (such as domestic absorption). In this paper, we use a SDGE model (SIGMA) to show that taking account of the expenditure composition of U.S. trade in an empirically-realistic way yields implications for the responses of trade to shocks that are markedly different from those of a "standard" framework that abstracts from such compositional differences. Overall, our analysis suggests that investment shocks, originating from either foreign or domestic sources, may serve as an important catalyst for trade adjustment, while implying a minimal depreciation of the real exchange rate. Moreover, while policy changes that boost investment abroad could serve to significantly improve the U.S. trade balance through an export channel, reforms oriented at stimulating foreign consumption would exert less of a corrective force on the trade balance, and primarily work by restraining real U.S. imports

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2006. "Trade Adjustment and the Composition of Trade," 2006 Meeting Papers 788, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:788

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bollino, Carlo Andrea, 2007. "Oil prices and the U.S. trade deficit," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 729-738.
    3. Gust, Christopher & Leduc, Sylvain & Sheets, Nathan, 2009. "The adjustment of global external balances: Does partial exchange-rate pass-through to trade prices matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 173-185, November.
    4. Gernot Mueller & Giancarlo Corsetti, 2007. "International Dimensions of Fiscal Policy Transmission," 2007 Meeting Papers 726, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Wieland, Volker & Cwik, Tobias & Müller, Gernot J. & Schmidt, Sebastian & Wolters, Maik, 2012. "A new comparative approach to macroeconomic modeling and policy analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 523-541.
    6. John B. Taylor & Volker Wieland, 2012. "Surprising Comparative Properties of Monetary Models: Results from a New Model Database," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 800-816, August.
    7. Fratzscher, Marcel & Juvenal, Luciana & Sarno, Lucio, 2010. "Asset prices, exchange rates and the current account," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 643-658, July.
    8. Mittnik, Stefan & Semmler, Willi, 2012. "Regime dependence of the fiscal multiplier," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 502-522.
    9. Martin Bodenstein & Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri, 2017. "The effects of foreign shocks when interest rates are at zero," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 50(3), pages 660-684, August.
    10. Jacob, Punnoose & Peersman, Gert, 2013. "Dissecting the dynamics of the US trade balance in an estimated equilibrium model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 302-315.
    11. Schmidt, Sebastian & Wieland, Volker, 2013. "The New Keynesian Approach to Dynamic General Equilibrium Modeling: Models, Methods and Macroeconomic Policy Evaluation," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    12. Shin-ichi Fukuda & Yoshifumi Kon, 2008. "Liquidity Risk Aversion, Debt Maturity, and Current Account Surpluses: A Theory and Evidence from East Asia," NBER Chapters,in: International Financial Issues in the Pacific Rim: Global Imbalances, Financial Liberalization, and Exchange Rate Policy (NBER-EASE Volume 17), pages 39-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Volker Wieland, 2012. "Model comparison and robustness: a proposal for policy analysis after the financial crisis," Chapters,in: What’s Right with Macroeconomics?, chapter 2, pages 33-67 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Dimitra Petropoulou & Kwok Tong Soo, 2011. "Product Durability and Trade Volatility," Working Paper Series 2811, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    15. Bodenstein, Martin & Erceg, Christopher J. & Guerrieri, Luca, 2011. "Oil shocks and external adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 168-184, March.
    16. Sauré, Philip, 2017. "Time-intensive R&D and unbalanced trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 229-244.
    17. Benjamin Bridgman, 2013. "International Supply Chains And The Volatility Of Trade," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 2110-2124, October.
    18. repec:eee:dyncon:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:118-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Donadelli, Michael & Varani, Alessia, 2015. "International capital markets structure, preferences and puzzles: A “US–China World”," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 85-99.
    20. Takamatsu, Satoko, 2010. "Openness and interest rates: An analysis using the MIUF model and transaction cost model of money," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 295-303, April.
    21. Engel, Charles & Wang, Jian, 2007. "International trade in durable goods: understanding volatility, cyclicality, and elastics," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 03, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    22. Yang Liu & Mariano Croce & Ivan Shaliastovich & Ric Colacito, 2016. "Volatility Risk Pass-Through," 2016 Meeting Papers 135, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item


    Trade; SDGE Model; Open Economy Macroeconomics;

    JEL classification:

    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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