NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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International Trade and Intertemporal Substitution

Fernando Leibovici, Michael E. Waugh

NBER Working Paper No. 20498
Issued in September 2014
NBER Program(s):The Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program, The International Finance and Macroeconomics Program, The International Trade and Investment Program

This paper studies the dynamics of international trade flows at business cycle frequencies. We show that introducing dynamic considerations into an otherwise standard model of trade can account for several puzzling features of trade flows at business cycle frequencies. Our insight is that because international trade is time-intensive, variation in the rate at which agents are willing to substitute across time affects how trade volumes respond to changes in output and prices. We formalize this idea and calibrate our model to match key features of U.S. data. We find that, in contrast to standard static models of international trade, our model is quantitatively consistent with salient features of U.S. cyclical import fluctuations. We also find that our model accounts for two-thirds of the peak-to-trough decline in imports during the 2008-2009 recession.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20498

Published: Fernando Leibovici & Michael E. Waugh, 2017. "International Trade and Intertemporal Substitution," Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Working Papers, vol 2017(004).

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