Rudolfs Bems

Graduate School of Public Policy
University of Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2015Demand for Value Added and Value-Added Exchange Rates
with Robert C. Johnson: w21070
We examine the role of cross-border input linkages in governing how international relative price changes influence demand for domestic value added. We define a novel value-added real effective exchange rate (REER), which aggregates bilateral value-added price changes, and link this REER to demand for value added. Input linkages enable countries to gain competitiveness following depreciations by supply chain partners, and hence counterbalance beggar-thy-neighbor effects. Cross-country differences in input linkages also imply that the elasticity of demand for value added is country specific. Using global input-output data, we demonstrate these conceptual insights are quantitatively important and compute historical value-added REERs.

Published: Rudolfs Bems & Robert Johnson, 2015. "Demand for Value Added and Value-Added Exchange Rates," IMF Working Papers, vol 15(199).

December 2012The Great Trade Collapse
with Robert C. Johnson, Kei-Mu Yi: w18632
We survey recent literature on the causes of the collapse in international trade during the 2008-2009 global recession. We argue that the evidence points to the collapse in aggregate expenditure, concentrated on trade-intensive durable goods, as the main driver of the trade collapse. Inventory adjustment likely amplified the impact of these expenditure changes on trade. In addition, shocks to credit supply constrained export supply further exacerbating the decline in trade. Most evidence suggests that changes in trade policy did not play a large role. We conclude that one benefit of the trade collapse is that it has stimulated research in neglected areas at the intersection of trade and macroeconomics.

Published: Rudolfs Bems & Robert C. Johnson & Kei-Mu Yi, 2013. "The Great Trade Collapse," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 375-400, 05. citation courtesy of

October 2012Value-Added Exchange Rates
with Robert C. Johnson: w18498
This paper updates the conceptual foundations for measuring real effective exchange rates (REERs) to allow for vertical specialization in trade. We derive a value-added REER describing how demand for the value added that a country produces changes as the price of its value added changes relative to competitors. We then compute this index for 42 countries from 1970-2009 using trade measured in value added terms and GDP deflators. There are substantial differences between value-added and conventional REERs. For example, China's value-added REER appreciated by 20 percentage points more than the conventional REER from 2000-2009. These differences are driven mainly by the theory-motivated shift in prices used to construct the value-added REER, not changes in bilateral weights.
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