How Important are Terms of Trade Shocks?

38 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2015

See all articles by Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Martín Uribe

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

According to conventional wisdom, terms of trade shocks represent a major source of business cycles in emerging and poor countries. This view is largely based on the analysis of calibrated business-cycle models. We argue that the view that emerges from empirical SVAR models is strikingly different. We estimate country-specific SVARs using data from 38 emerging and countries and find that terms-of-trade shocks explain less than 10 percent of movements in aggregate activity. We then build a three-sector open economy model and estimate key structural parameters country by country. We find that at the country level there is a disconnect between the empirical and theoretical models in the importance assigned to terms-of-trade shocks.

Suggested Citation

Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie and Uribe, Martin, How Important are Terms of Trade Shocks? (June 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21253, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2615658

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe (Contact Author)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Martin Uribe

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

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