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Trade with the West and Russia - A Long-term Perspective on Finnish Economic Growth, Fluctuations and Policies


  • Alho, Kari E.O.


The paper considers growth and fluctuations in the Finnish economy in the post-war period starting from her long-run dual strategy vis-à-vis export markets in Western Europe and Russia. Finland has wanted to utilise the more rapid growth based on deeper integration in the former, but has simultaneously wanted to reap the gains linked to her proximity to the latter. We build a theoretical open economy model based on export supply and demand and then for the whole economy and analyse the role of economic policies, notably exchange rate policies in this connection. Empirically, we estimate the relationships using the SVAR methodology identifying the relevant demand and supply shocks and shocks in policy responses. The results clearly show that shifts in competitiveness have played a key role in boosting both categories of exports. However, firms have been able to shift on their own in exports from the Russian market to the West when needed. Productivity gains have been linked to Western exports, but not to exports to Russia. From a macroeconomic point of view exchange rate policies have been roughly as important as fiscal policies to explain economic fluctuations, although the conclusion on this quite sensitively depends on the SVAR model used. However, economic policies have been less important than the aggregate demand and supply shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Alho, Kari E.O., 2008. "Trade with the West and Russia - A Long-term Perspective on Finnish Economic Growth, Fluctuations and Policies," Discussion Papers 1124, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:1124

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 1-33, March.
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    3. de Mooij, Ruud A & Ederveen, Sjef, 2003. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(6), pages 673-693, November.
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    5. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    6. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    8. Alho, Kari, 2002. "The Equilibrium Rate of Unemployment and Policies to Lower It: The Case of Finland," Discussion Papers 839, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    9. Perotti, Roberto, 2005. "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 4842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    11. Kaitila, Ville, 2006. "Productivity, Hours Worked, and Tax/Benefit Systems in Europe and Beyond," Discussion Papers 1015, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    12. G. Carone & A. Salomäki, 2001. "Reforms in tax-benefit systems in order to increase emplyoment incentives in the EU," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 160, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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    More about this item


    exports; macro economy; economic policies; SVAR;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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