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Spurious Welfare Reversals in International Business Cycle Models

  • Jinill Kim


  • Sunghyun Henry Kim


Several papers on international business cycles have documented spurious welfare reversals, in that incomplete market economies can produce higher welfare than the complete market economy. This paper demonstrates how conventional linearization, as used in King, Plosser, and Rebelo (1988), can generate approximation errors that are large enough to result in such reversals. Using a two-country production economy without capital, we argue that spurious welfare reversals are not only possible but also plausible under reasonable parameter values. As a constructive alternative, this paper proposes an approximation method that modifies the conventional linearization method by a bias correction---the linear approximation around a 'stochastic' steady state. We show that this method can be easily implemented to accurately approximate the exact solution and therefore produce the correct welfare ordering. The accuracy of the proposed method is far better than that of the conventional linearization method and as good as that of a method involving a second-order expansion.

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Paper provided by University of Virginia, Department of Economics in its series Virginia Economics Online Papers with number 319.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Oct 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vir:virpap:319
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  1. McGrattan, Ellen R., 1994. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 573-601, June.
  2. Dale W. Henderson & Jinill Kim, 1999. "Exact utilities under alternative monetary rules in a simple macro model with optimizing agents," International Finance Discussion Papers 635, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Christopher Otrok, 2000. "On Measuring the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1094, Econometric Society.
  4. LuisM. Viceira & John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Who Should Buy Long-Term Bonds?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 99-127, March.
  5. Cole, Harold L. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Commodity trade and international risk sharing : How much do financial markets matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 3-24, August.
  6. John B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig, 1989. "Solving Nonlinear Stochastic Growth Models: A Comparison of Alternative Solution Methods," NBER Working Papers 3117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Henry Kim & Andrew T. Levin, 2001. "Patience, persistence and welfare costs of incomplete markets in open economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 696, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
  9. Jess Gaspar & Kenneth L. Judd, 1997. "Solving Large Scale Rational Expectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1998. "Risk and Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 6694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mark Bils & Yongsung Chang, 1999. "Wages and the Allocation of Hours and Effort," NBER Working Papers 7309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Wouter J. den Haan & Albert Marcet, 1993. "Accuracy in simulations," Economics Working Papers 42, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Woodford Michael, 2002. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-53, February.
  14. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  15. Devereux, Michael B. & Saito, Makoto, 1997. "Growth and risk-sharing with incomplete international assets markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 453-481, May.
  16. van Wincoop, Eric, 1999. "How big are potential welfare gains from international risksharing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 109-135, February.
  17. Ireland, Peter N., 1997. "A small, structural, quarterly model for monetary policy evaluation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 83-108, December.
  18. Jinill Kim & Dale Henderson, 2002. "Inflation Targeting and Nominal Income Growth Targeting: When and Why Are They Suboptimal?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 59, Society for Computational Economics.
  19. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1987. "International real business cycles," Working Papers 426, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Collard, Fabrice & Juillard, Michel, 2001. "Accuracy of stochastic perturbation methods: The case of asset pricing models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 979-999, June.
  21. repec:fth:calaec:4-98 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Should the Social Security Trust Fund Hold Equities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 666-697, July.
  23. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1995. "The Terms of Trade, the Real Exchange Rate, and Economic Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 101-37, February.
  24. Lewis, Karen K., 2000. "Why do stocks and consumption imply such different gains from international risk sharing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-35, October.
  25. Tesar, Linda L., 1995. "Evaluating the gains from international risksharing," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 95-143, June.
  26. Jang-Ok Cho & Thomas Cooley & Louis Phaneuf, 1994. "The Welfare Costs of Nominal Wage Contracting," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 30, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal, revised 22 Jan 1996.
  27. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. repec:cup:macdyn:v:1:y:1997:i:1:p:45-75 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Benigno, Gianluca & Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules and the Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 2807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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