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The Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Real Exchange Rate: The J Curve and Trade Costs?

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Listed:
  • Horag Choi

    (Monash University)

  • George Alessandria

    (University of Rochester)

Abstract

We show that flexible and sticky price multi-country models generate a counterfactual comovement between the trade balance and the real exchange rate and that the dynamics of the US trade balance since 1980 are mostly attributed to declines in trade costs and a gradual response of trade flows to past movements in the real exchange rate. We develop a theoretical model with heterogenous producers, a dynamic export participation decision, pricing to market, and declining trade costs to address these properties of the trade balance. With temporary and permanent shocks to trade costs leading to fluctuations in trade and the observed increases in trade, the model can capture the dynamics of the trade balance and the real exchange rate. With these movements in the trade balance, business cycles are substantially more synchronized and there is much less consumption risk sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Horag Choi & George Alessandria, 2015. "The Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Real Exchange Rate: The J Curve and Trade Costs?," 2015 Meeting Papers 1413, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:1413
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2015/paper_1413.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Alessandria, George & Choi, Horag, 2014. "Establishment heterogeneity, exporter dynamics, and the effects of trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 207-223.
    4. Lukasz A. Drozd & Jaromir B. Nosal, 2012. "Understanding International Prices: Customers as Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 364-395, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2007. "Market Entry Costs, Producer Heterogeneity, and Export Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 837-873, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Avinash Dixit, 1989. "Hysteresis, Import Penetration, and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 205-228.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel & Neiman, Brent, 2016. "Obstfeld and Rogoff׳s international macro puzzles: a quantitative assessment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 5-23.
    2. Ohanian, Lee E. & Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina & Wright, Mark L. J., 2015. "Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Postwar Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America," Working Paper Series WP-2015-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, revised 04 Nov 2015.

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