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International business cycles and the relative price of investment goods


  • Parantap Basu


  • Christoph Thoenissen



Is the relative price of investment goods a good proxy for investment frictions? We model this relative price in a flexible price international economy with two fundamental shocks, namely the total factor productivity (TFP) shock and the investment specific technology (IST) shock. The paper argues that the one-to-one correspondence between investment friction and the relative price of investment goods breaks down in an international economy because of the short run correlation between the terms of trade and the relative price of investment goods. The data congruent negative correlation between the investment rate and the relative price of investment goods thus does not necessarily reflect decline in investment frictions (rise in IST) as suggested by many studies. A calibration experiment with the US data demonstrates that such an inverse relation between rate of investment and the relative price of investment goods basically reflects the positive effect of TFP on the terms of trade for a broad range of econ mies where the home bias in consumption exceeds investment and there is a sizable adjustment cost of investment. A regression experiment with major OECD countries provided empirical support of the fact that terms of trade effect on the relative price of investment is important

Suggested Citation

  • Parantap Basu & Christoph Thoenissen, 2009. "International business cycles and the relative price of investment goods," CDMA Working Paper Series 200905, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:san:cdmawp:0905

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 2000. "The role of investment-specific technological change in the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 91-115, January.
    3. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2008. "International Risk Sharing and the Transmission of Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 443-473.
    4. King, Robert G & Watson, Mark W, 1998. "The Solution of Singular Linear Difference Systems under Rational Expectations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1015-1026, November.
    5. Zheng Liu & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2008. "Sources of the Great Moderation: Shocks, Frictions, or Monetary Policy?," Emory Economics 0811, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    6. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2011. "Investment Shocks and the Relative Price of Investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 101-121, January.
    7. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2002. "Financial autarky and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 601-627, April.
    8. Pierpaolo Benigno, 2009. "Price Stability with Imperfect Financial Integration," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(s1), pages 121-149, February.
    9. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
    10. Boileau, Martin, 2002. "Trade in capital goods and investment-specific technical change," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 963-984, June.
    11. Nolan, Charles & Thoenissen, Christoph, 2009. "Financial shocks and the US business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 596-604, May.
    12. Benigno, Gianluca & Thoenissen, Christoph, 2008. "Consumption and real exchange rates with incomplete markets and non-traded goods," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 926-948, October.
    13. 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.
    14. Enders, Zeno & Müller, Gernot J., 2009. "On the international transmission of technology shocks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 45-59, June.
    15. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunes Kamber & Christoph Thoenissen, 2011. "Financial intermediation and the internationalbusiness cycle: The case of small countries with big banks," CAMA Working Papers 2011-22, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. 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.
    3. Nadav Ben Zeev & Hashmat Khan, 2015. "Investment‐Specific News Shocks and U.S. Business Cycles," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(7), pages 1443-1464, October.
    4. Dey, Jaya, 2013. "The role of investment-specific technology shocks in driving international business cycles: a bayesian approach," MPRA Paper 57803, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 Aug 2014.
    5. repec:cup:macdyn:v:21:y:2017:i:03:p:555-598_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Parantap Basu & Shesadri Banerjee, 2015. "Effect of Quantitative Easing on the Indian Economy: A Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Perspective," CEGAP Working Papers 2015_03, Durham University Business School.
    7. Parantap Basu & Shesadri Banerjee, 2015. "Role of IST and TFP Shocks in Business Cycle Fluctuations: The Case of India," CEGAP Working Papers 2015_04, Durham University Business School.
    8. Dmitriev, Alexandre & Roberts, Ivan, 2013. "The cost of adjustment: On comovement between the trade balance and the terms of trade," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 689-700.

    More about this item


    Investment frictions; investment specific technological progress; total factor productivity; relative price of investment goods terms of trade;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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