IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed017/212.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Role of Trade Costs in the Surge of Trade Imbalances

Author

Listed:
  • Ricardo Reyes-Heroles

    (Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

This paper shows that the decline in trade costs that underlies the increase in observed global bilateral gross trade flows has notably contributed to the surge in the size of net trade imbalances over the past four decades. To show this, I propose a framework that embeds a quantitative multi-country general equilibrium model of international trade based on Ricardian comparative advantages into a dynamic framework in which trade imbalances arise endogenously. I identify and describe two mechanisms through which declines in trade costs lead to larger imbalances in the model. By exploiting the information in bilateral trade flows, among other data, I calibrate the model and provide a decomposition that shows that 69 percent of the increase in the size of world trade imbalances can be explained by the decline in trade costs across countries. In other words, lower trade costs have not only allowed for more trade across countries in a particular point in time, but also for more trade over time. Moreover, the effect of lower trade costs on trade imbalances is heterogeneous across countries. In particular, trade imbalances in countries like the United States and China have been significantly affected by the decline in trade costs. I also show that the welfare gains from lower trade costs can differ substantially from those that are obtained when changes in trade imbalances are not taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo Reyes-Heroles, 2017. "The Role of Trade Costs in the Surge of Trade Imbalances," 2017 Meeting Papers 212, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed017:212
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2017/paper_212.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim & Jaewoo Lee, 2013. "Accounting for Global Dispersion of Current Accounts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 477-496, July.
    2. Glick, Reuven & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Global versus country-specific productivity shocks and the current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 159-192, February.
    3. Pol Antràs & Ricardo J. Caballero, 2009. "Trade and Capital Flows: A Financial Frictions Perspective," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 701-744, August.
    4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Olivier Jeanne, 2013. "Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Allocation Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1484-1515.
    5. Barattieri, Alessandro, 2014. "Comparative advantage, service trade, and global imbalances," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-13.
    6. 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.
    7. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
    8. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2003. "Current Accounts in the Long and the Short Run," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 65-112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 129-173.
    10. Simonovska, Ina & Waugh, Michael E., 2014. "The elasticity of trade: Estimates and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 34-50.
    11. Doireann Fitzgerald, 2012. "Trade Costs, Asset Market Frictions, and Risk Sharing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2700-2733, October.
    12. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2001. "The external wealth of nations: measures of foreign assets and liabilities for industrial and developing countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 263-294, December.
    13. Paul R. Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2017. "Endogenous Tradability and Some Macroeconomic Implications," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Macroeconomic Interdependence, chapter 7, pages 187-210, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    14. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
    15. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-839, December.
    16. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-185, March.
    17. Matteo Maggiori, 2017. "Financial Intermediation, International Risk Sharing, and Reserve Currencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(10), pages 3038-3071, October.
    18. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2007. "The external wealth of nations mark II: Revised and extended estimates of foreign assets and liabilities, 1970-2004," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 223-250, November.
    19. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl & Joseph B. Steinberg, 2018. "Global Imbalances and Structural Change in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(2), pages 761-796.
    20. Hamid Faruqee & Jaewoo Lee, 2009. "Global Dispersion of Current Accounts: Is the Universe Expanding?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(3), pages 574-595, August.
    21. Andrei A. Levchenko & Jing Zhang, 2014. "The Evolution of Comparative Advantage: Measurement and Implications," Working Paper Series WP-2014-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    22. Fernando Parro, 2013. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 72-117, April.
    23. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-1238, December.
    24. Fitzgerald, Doireann, 2008. "Can trade costs explain why exchange rate volatility does not feed into consumer prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 606-628, April.
    25. Clarida, Richard H, 1990. "International Lending and Borrowing in a Stochastic, Stationary Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(3), pages 543-558, August.
    26. Ralph Ossa, 2014. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks with Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 4104-4146, December.
    27. Yan Bai & Jing Zhang, 2010. "Solving the Feldstein-Horioka Puzzle With Financial Frictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 603-632, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Robert Zymek, 2018. "Bilateral Trade Imbalances," 2018 Meeting Papers 1117, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Sergi Basco & Martí Mestieri, 2019. "The world income distribution: the effects of international unbundling of production," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 189-221, June.
    3. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Yotov, Yoto V., 2019. "From theory to policy with gravitas: A solution to the mystery of the excess trade balances," Kiel Working Papers 2138, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Stephen J. Redding & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2017. "Quantitative Spatial Economics," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 21-58, September.
    5. Petroulakis, Filippos, 2017. "Internal devaluation in currency unions: the role of trade costs and taxes," Working Paper Series 2049, European Central Bank.
    6. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Brent Neiman & John Romalis, 2016. "Trade and the Global Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3401-3438, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael J. Sposi, 2017. "Demographics and the Evolution of Global Imbalances," Globalization Institute Working Papers 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 15 Apr 2019.
    9. Ravikumar, B. & Santacreu, Ana Maria & Sposi, Michael, 2019. "Capital accumulation and dynamic gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 93-110.
    10. Robert C. Johnson, 2018. "Measuring Global Value Chains," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 207-236, August.
    11. Rafael Dix-Carneiro & Ricardo Reyes-Heroles & Sharon Traiberman, 2018. "Globalization, Trade Imbalances, and Labor Market Adjustment," 2018 Meeting Papers 890, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Brancaccio, Giulia & Kalouptsidi, Myrto & Papageorgiou, Theodore, 2017. "Geography, Search Frictions and Endogenous Trade Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 12141, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Ricardo Reyes-Heroles, 2018. "Globalization and Structural Change in the United States: A Quantitative Assessment," 2018 Meeting Papers 1027, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. George Alessandria & Horag Choi & Dan Lu, 2017. "Trade Integration and the Trade Balance in China," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(3), pages 633-674, August.
    15. Michael Sposi & Ana Maria Santacreu & B Ravikumar, 2016. "Capital Accumulation and Welfare Gains from Trade," 2016 Meeting Papers 1637, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Lee E. Ohanian & Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria & Mark L. J. Wright, . "Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Postwar Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America," Staff Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    17. Felipe Benguria & Felipe Saffie & Sergio Urzúa, 2018. "The Transmission of Commodity Price Super-Cycles," NBER Working Papers 24560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Oleg Itskhoki & Dmitry Mukhin, 2017. "Exchange Rate Disconnect in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 23401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed017:212. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.