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Medium-term business cycles in developing countries

  • Comin, Diego
  • Loayza, Norman
  • Pasha, Farooq
  • Serven, Luis

Empirical evidence - including the current global crisis - suggests that shocks from advanced countries often have a disproportionate effect on developing economies. Can this account for the fact that aggregate fluctuations are larger and more persistent in the latter than in the former economies? And what are the mechanisms at play? This paper addresses these questions using a model of an industrial and a developing economy trading goods and assets, with (i) a product cycle shaping the range of intermediate goods used to produce new capital in each country, and (ii) investment adjustment costs in the developing economy. Innovation by the advanced economy results in new intermediate goods, at first produced at home, and eventually transferred to the developing economy through direct investment. The pace of innovation and technology transfer is driven by profitability. This process of technology diffusion creates a medium-term connection between both economies, over and above the short-term link through trade. Calibration of the model to match Mexico-United States trade and foreign direct investment flows shows that this mechanism can explain why shocks to the United States economy have a larger effect on Mexico than on the United States itself, and hence why Mexico shows higher volatility than the United States; why business cycles in the United States lead to medium-term fluctuations in Mexico; and why consumption is not less volatile than output in Mexico.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5146.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5146
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  1. Sanghamitra Das & Mark J. Roberts & James R. Tybout, 2001. "Market entry costs, producer heterogeneity and export dynamics," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 03-10, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  2. Pablo A. Neumeyer & Fabrizio Perri, 2004. "Business Cycles in Emerging Economies: The Role of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 10387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J Bradford & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2007. "Firms in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Gaston Gelos & Alberto Isgut, 1999. "Fixed Capital Adjustment; Is Latin America Different? Evidence From the Colombian and Mexican Manufacturing Sectors," IMF Working Papers 99/59, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Andrew M. Warner, 1991. "Did the debt crisis cause the investment crisis?," International Finance Discussion Papers 418, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Ghironi, Fabio & Melitz, Marc, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3228377, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Talan B. Iscan, 1998. "Financing Constraints and Investment Decline in Mexico," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive fdis98, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
  9. Warner, Andrew M., 1994. "Mexico's investment collapse: debt or oil?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 239-256, April.
  10. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1998. "Capital Flows and Capital-Market Crises: The Simple Economics of Sudden Stops," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 35-54, November.
  11. Nancy L. Stokey, 1989. "The Volume and Composition of Trade Between Rich and Poor Countries," Discussion Papers 849, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. R. Gaston Gelos & Alberto Isgut, 2001. "Fixed Capital Adjustment: Is Latin America Different?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 717-726, November.
  13. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
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