Savings and the Terms of Trade Under Borrowing Constraints

38 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Pierre-Richard Agenor

Pierre-Richard Agenor

University of Manchester - School of Social Sciences

Joshua Aizenman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2000

Abstract

When households face the possibility of borrowing constraints in bad times, favorable movements in the permanent component of the terms of trade may lead to higher rates of private savings. Agenor and Aizenman examine the extent to which permanent terms-of-trade shocks have an asymmetric effect on private savings.

Using a simple three-period model, they show that if households expect to face binding constraints on borrowing in bad states of nature (when the economy is in a long trough rather than a sharp peak), savings rates will respond asymmetrically to favorable movements in the permanent component of the terms of trade-in contrast with the predictions of conventional consumption-smoothing models.

They test for asymmetric effects of terms-of-trade disturbances using an econometric model that controls for various standard determinants of private savings. The results - based on panel data for nonoil commodity exporters of Sub-Saharan Africa for 1980-96 (a group of countries for which movements in the terms of trade have traditionally represented a key source of macroeconomic shocks) - indicate that increases in the permanent component of the terms of trade (measured using three alternative filtering techniques) indeed tend to be associated with higher rates of private savings.

This paper is a product of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction, World Bank Institute.

JEL Classification: D91, F41, O55

Suggested Citation

Agenor, Pierre-Richard and Aizenman, Joshua, Savings and the Terms of Trade Under Borrowing Constraints (June 2000). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2381. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=630751

Pierre-Richard Agenor (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - School of Social Sciences ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Joshua Aizenman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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