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Capital goods imports, the real exchange rate, and the current account


  • Serven, Luis


Conventional aggregate models of open economies typically rule out trade in capital goods. But capital goods account for a major share of the world trade. In 1990, they represented more than 40 percent of U.S. merchandise exports and more than 30 percent of its imports. In the same year, capital goods imports represented an average of roughly 30 of total imports for 82 industrial and developing countries, and almost 9 percent of their GDP. This report shows that the presence of imported capital goods greatly changes the short- and long-run effects of macoreconomic policies and external shocks on key macroeconomic variables. Using a rational-expectations aggregate model with intertemporally optimizing agents and with trade in both consumption and capital goods, it finds that the long-run equilibrium of the economy displays a negative relationship between the real exchange rate and real output - that is, a real appreciation is associated with an increase in long-run output and the capital stock. With investment subject to adjustment costs, the response to unanticipated permanent disturbances involves a changing real exchange rate and a non-zero current account. The author analyzes the macroeconomic consequences of changes infiscal policy and of transfers of wealth from abroad. He show that both have well-defined long-run effects on the capital stock and real output. Fiscal expansion, in particular, may have a long-run crowding-in effect on investment. By constrast, the impact of disturbances on the current account is ambiguous. The author shows that it depends critically on the degree of intertemporal substitutability in both consumption and investment - with the latter measured by the magnitude of investment adjustment costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Serven, Luis, 1994. "Capital goods imports, the real exchange rate, and the current account," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1298, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1298

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Habib Ahmed & C. Paul Hallwood & Stephen M. Miller, 2006. "The Exchange Rate-Investment Nexus and Exchange Rate Instability: Another Reason for 'Fear of Floating'," Working papers 2006-15, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2009.
    2. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the Welfare of Nations," NBER Working Papers 17971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Francisco A. Gallego & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 2004. "General Equilibrium Dynamics of External Shocks and Policy Changes in Chile," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 271, Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Habib Ahmed & C. Paul Hallwood & Stephen M. Miller, 1997. "Monetary Policy in a Portfolio Balance Model with Endogenous Physical Capital," Working papers 1997-08, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    5. Serven, Luis, 1999. "Terms-of-trade shocks and optimal investment: another look at the Laursen-Metzler effect," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 337-365.
    6. Karlygash Kuralbayeva & David Vines, 2008. "Shocks to Terms of Trade and Risk-premium in an Intertemporal Model: The Dutch Disease and a Dutch Party," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 277-303, July.
    7. Kuralbayeva, Karlygash & Vines, David, 2006. "Terms of Trade Shocks in an Intertemporal Model: Should We Worry about the Dutch Disease or Excessive Borrowing?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5857, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Javier Coto-Martinez & Huw Dixon, "undated". "Fiscal Policy in an Imperfectly Competitive Dynamic Small Open Economy," Discussion Papers 99/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Hsieh, Yi-ni & Chang, Wen-ya & Lai, Ching-chong, 1998. "Endogenizing labor-leisure choice: investment and the relative price of non-traded goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 105-111, July.
    10. Francisco Gallego & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 2005. "General Equilibrium Dynamics of Foreign Shocks ans Policy Changes in Chile," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Rómulo A. Chumacero & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (S (ed.), General Equilibrium Models for the Chilean Economy, edition 1, volume 9, chapter 4, pages 113-162 Central Bank of Chile.
    11. Roberto Duncan, 2003. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect Revisited: An Indirect-Utility-Function Approach," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 250, Central Bank of Chile.
    12. Ramon Moreno, 1999. "Depreciation and recessions in East Asia," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 27-40.
    13. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Pizzati, Lodovico, 2005. "Disinflation and the supply side," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 596-620, December.
    14. Christian Keuschnigg, 1996. "Overshooting adjustment to tariff liberalization," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 237-255, July.
    15. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2012. "Productivity and the Welfare of Nations," Working Papers 621, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    16. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 1995. "Fiscal and monetary contraction in Chile : a rational-expectations approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1472, The World Bank.


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