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  • Author: John H. Rogers, Charles Engel
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We investigate the possibility that the large current account deficits of the U.S. are the outcome of optimizing behavior. We develop a simple long-run world equilibrium model in which a country's current account is determined by the expected discounted present value of its future share of world GDP relative to its current share of world GDP. The model suggests that under some reasonable assumptions about future U.S. GDP growth relative to the rest of the advanced countries – more modest than the growth over the past 20 years – the current account deficit is near optimal levels. We then explore the implications for the real exchange rate. Under some plausible assumptions, the model implies little change in the real exchange rate over the adjustment path, though the conclusion is sensitive to assumptions about tastes and technology. Then we turn to empirical evidence. Two empirical analyses of current account sustainability using actual data suggest that the U.S. is not keeping on a long-run sustainable path. One is a direct test of our model, which finds that the dynamics of the U.S. current account – the increasing deficits over the past decade – are difficult to explain under a particular statistical model (Markov-switching) of expectations of future U.S. growth. But, if we use survey data on forecasted GDP growth in the G7, our very simple model appears to explain the evolution of the U.S. current account remarkably well. We conclude that expectations of robust performance of the U.S. economy relative to the rest of the advanced countries is a contender – though not the only legitimate contender – for explaining the U.S. current account deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Patrick J. DeGraba
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: It is widely believed that larger customers in a market can secure lower prices than smaller customers. This paper presents conditions under which risk averse sellers, who can distinguish larger customers from smaller customers, but who cannot observe customers' valuations, have an incentive to offer lower prices to larger customers. The intuition is that a single customer that demands a specific quantity represents a riskier profit source than multiple customers with independent valuations whose demands sum to that same quantity. Sellers respond to the riskier profit source by offering a lower price to reduce some of the risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Jonathan H. Wright, David W. Berger, Alain P. Chaboud, Sergey V. Chernenko, Edward Howorka, Raj S. Iyer, David Liu
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We study the association between order flow and exchange rate returns in five years of high-frequency intraday data from the leading interdealer electronic broking system, EBS. While the association between order flow and exchange rate returns has been studied in several previous papers, these have mostly used relatively short spans of daily data from older bilateral dealing systems and, usually, transaction counts instead of actual trading volume. Using a substantially longer span of recent high-frequency data and measuring order flow as actual signed trading volume, we find a strong positive association between order flow and exchange rate returns at frequencies ranging from one minute to one day, and a more modest but still sizeable association at the monthly frequency. We find, however, no evidence that order flow has predictive power for future exchange rate movements beyond, possibly, the next minute. Focusing on the behavior of order flow and exchange rates at the time of scheduled U.S. economic data releases, we find that the surprise components of these announcements are associated with order flow at high frequency immediately after the data releases. This finding seems inconsistent with a simple efficient markets view of how a public news announcement is incorporated into prices.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John W. Schindler, Dustin H. Beckett
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Hong Kong plays a prominent role as a re-exporter of a large percentage of trade bound for or coming from China. Current reporting practices in China and its trading partners do not fully reflect this role and therefore provide a misleading picture of the origin or ultimate destination of Chinese exports and imports. We adjust bilateral trade data for both China and its trading partners to correct for this problem. We also correct for differences due to markups in Hong Kong and different standards for reporting trade (c.i.f. versus f.o.b.). For 2003, we estimate that China's overall trade surplus was between $53 billion and $126 billion, larger than that reported in official Chinese data, but smaller than that reported by China's trading partners. We also provide evidence that, in general, the actual origin of a good that is transshipped through Hong Kong is correctly reported by the importing country, but the final destination of such goods is not correctly reported by the exporting country.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Hong Kong
  • Author: Neville Francis, Michael T. Owyang, Jennifer T. Roush
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Recent empirical studies using infinite horizon long-run restrictions question the validity of the technology-driven real business cycle hypothesis. These results have met with their own controversy, stemming from their sensitivity to changes in model specification and the general poor performance of long run restrictions in Monte Carlo experiments. We propose a alternative identification that maximizes the contribution of technology shocks to the forecast error variance of labor productivity at a long, but finite horizon. In small samples, our identification outperforms its infinite horizon counterpart by producing less biased impulse responses and technology shocks that are more highly correlated with the technology shocks from the underlying model. For U.S. data, we show that the negative hours response is not robust to allowing a greater role for non-technology shocks in the forecast error variance share at a ten year horizon.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jaime Marquez, Mario Marazzi, Nathan Sheets, Joseph Gagnon, Robert J. Vigfusson, Jon Faust, Robert F. Martin, Trevor Reeve, John Rogers
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper documents a sustained decline in exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices, from above 0.5 during the 1980s to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.2 during the last decade. This decline in the pass-through coefficient is robust to the measure of foreign prices that is included in the regression (i.e., CPI versus PPI), whether the estimation is done in levels or differences, and whether U.S. prices are included as an explanatory variable. Notably, the largest estimates of pass-through are obtained when commodity prices are excluded from the regression. In this case, the pass-through coefficient captures both the direct effect of the exchange rate on import prices and an indirect effect operating through changes in commodity prices. Our work indicates that an increasing share of exchange rate pass-through has occurred through this commodity-price channel in recent years. While the source of the decline in passthrough is difficult to pin down with certainty, our work points to several factors, including the reduced share of (commodity-intensive) industrial supplies in U.S. imports and the increased presence of Chinese exporters in U.S. markets. We detect a particular step down in the passthrough coefficient around the time of the Asian financial crisis and document a shift in the export pricing behavior of emerging Asian firms around that time.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz, Luke M. Froeb, John F. Geweke, Charles T. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine price movements over time around the collapse of a bid-rigging conspiracy. While the mean decreased by sixteen percent, the standard deviation increased by over two hundred percent. We hypothesize that conspiracies in other industries would exhibit similar characteristics and search for "pockets" of low price variation as indicators of collusion in the retail gasoline industry in Louisville. We observe no such areas around Louisville in 1996-2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Sanjay Chugh
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Ramsey models of fiscal and monetary policy with perfectly-competitive product markets and a fixed supply of capital predict highly volatile inflation with no serial correlation. In this paper, we show that an otherwise-standard Ramsey model that incorporates capital accumulation and habit persistence predicts highly persistent inflation. The result depends on increases in either the ability to smooth consumption or the preference for doing so. The effect operates through the Fisher relationship: a smoother profile of consumption implies a more persistent real interest rate, which in turn implies persistent optimal inflation. Our work complements a recent strand of the Ramsey literature based on models with nominal rigidities. In these models, inflation volatility is lower but continues to exhibit very little persistence. We quantify the effects of habit and capital on inflation persistence and also relate our findings to recent work on optimal fiscal policy with incomplete markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Dale W. Henderson, Jinill Kim
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In the last half of the 1990s, labor productivity growth rose in the U.S. and fell almost everywhere in Europe. We document changes in both capital deepening and multifactor productivity (MFP) growth in both the information and communication technology (ICT) and non-ICT sectors. We view MFP growth in the ICT sector as investment-specific productivity (ISP) growth. We perform simulations suggested by the data using a two-country DGE model with traded and nontraded goods. For ISP, we consider level increases and persistent growth rate increases that are symmetric across countries and allow for costs of adjusting capital-labor ratios that are higher in one country because of structural differences. ISP increases generate investment booms unless adjustment costs are too high. For MFP, we consider persistent growth rate shocks that are asymmetric. When such MFP shocks affect only traded goods (as often assumed), movements in 'international' variables are qualitatively similar to those in the data. However, when they also affect nontraded goods (as suggested by the data), movements in some of the variables are not. To obtain plausible results for the growth rate shocks, it is necessary to assume slow recognition.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Sylvain Leduc, Hilary Croke
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Much has been written about prospects for U.S. current account adjustment, including the possibility of what is sometimes referred to as a “disorderly correction”: a sharp fall in the exchange rate that boosts interest rates, depresses stock prices, and weakens economic activity. This paper assesses some of the empirical evidence bearing on the likelihood of the disorderly correction scenario, drawing on the experience of previous current account adjustments in industrial economies. We examined the paths of key economic performance indicators before, during, and after the onset of adjustment, building on the analysis of Freund (2000).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States