Commodity Booms and Busts in Emerging Economies
Emerging economies, particularly those dependent on commodity exports, are prone to highly disruptive economic cycles. This paper proposes a small open economy model for a net commodity exporter to quantitatively study the triggers of these cycles. The economy consists of two sectors, one of which produces commodities with prices subject to exogenous international fluctuations. These fluctuations affect both the competitiveness of the economy and its borrowing terms, as higher commodity prices are associated with lower spreads between the country's borrowing rate and world interest rates. Both effects jointly result in strongly positive effects of commodity price increases on GDP, consumption and investment, and a negative effect on the total trade balance. Furthermore, they generate excess volatility of consumption over output and a large volatility of investment. The model structure nests various candidate sources of shocks proposed in previous work on emerging economy business cycles. Estimating the model on Argentine data, we find that the contribution of commodity price shocks to fluctuations in post-1950 output growth is in the order of 38%. In addition, commodity prices account for around 42% and 61% of the variation in consumption and investment growth, respectively. We find transitory productivity shocks to be an important driver of output fluctuations, exceeding the contribution of shocks to the trend, which is smaller, although not negligible.
We would like to thank Juan Antolin-Diaz, Neele Balke, Alberto Cavallo, Gianluca Benigno, Francesco Caselli, Wouter Den Haan, Martin Ellison, Andrea Fererro, Per Krusell, Tommaso Monacelli, Ivan Petrella, Ricardo Reis, and seminar participants at the NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2017, the Workshop in International Economics at Oxford University, and LSE for useful comments and conversations. For superb research assistace, we would like to thank Piero Fortino and Sun Rui. Tenreyro acknowledges support from ERC Consolidator Grant MACROTRADE-Research on Macroeconomic Fluctuations and Trade. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Thomas Drechsel & Silvana Tenreyro, 2017. "Commodity Booms and Busts in Emerging Economies," Journal of International Economics, . citation courtesy of