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Author:Alessandria, George 

Working Paper
Trade wedges, inventories, and international business cycles

The large, persistent fluctuations in international trade that cannot be explained in standard models by changes in expenditures and relative prices are often attributed to trade wedges. We show that these trade wedges can reflect the decisions of importers to change their inventory holdings. We find that a two-country model of international business cycles with an inventory management decision can generate trade flows and wedges consistent with the data. Moreover, matching trade flows alters the international transmission of business cycles. Specifically, real net exports become ...
Working Papers , Paper 12-16

Working Paper
Violating purchasing power parity.

This paper demonstrates that deviations from the law of one price are an important source of violations of absolute PPP across countries. Using highly disaggregated U.S. export data, we document evidence of systematic international price discrimination based on the local wage of consumers in the destination market. We show that most violations from absolute PPP can also be explained by international differences in wages. We find very little additional explanation is due to differences in income per capita. Developing and calibrating a model of pricing-to-market based on search frictions and ...
Working Papers , Paper 04-19

Working Paper
The great trade collapse of 2008-2009: an inventory adjustment?

This paper examines the role of inventories in the decline of production, trade, and expenditures in the US in the economic crisis of late 2008 and 2009. Empirically, the authors show that international trade declined more drastically than trade-weighted production or absorption and there was a sizeable inventory adjustment. This is most clearly evident for autos, the industry with the largest drop in trade. However, relative to the magnitude of the US downturn, these movements in trade are quite typical. The authors develop a two-country general equilibrium model with endogenous inventory ...
Working Papers , Paper 10-18

Working Paper
Trade Policy is Real News: Theory and Evidence

We evaluate the aggregate effects of changes in trade barriers when these changes can be implemented slowly over time and trade responds gradually to changes in trade barriers because firm-level trade costs make exporting a dynamic decision. Our model shows how expectations of changes in trade barriers affect the economy. We find that while decreases in trade barriers increase economic activity, expectations of lower future trade barriers temporarily decrease investment, hours worked, and output. Further- more, canceling an expected decline in future trade barriers raises investment and ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1330

Working Paper
U.S. trade and inventory dynamics

The authors examine the source of the large fall and rebound in U.S. trade in the recent recession. While trade fell and rebounded more than expenditures or production of traded goods, they find that relative to the magnitude of the downturn, these trade fluctuations were in line with those in previous business cycle fluctuations. The authors argue that the high volatility of trade is attributed to more severe inventory management considerations of firms involved in international trade. They present empirical evidence for autos as well as at the aggregate level that the adjustment of ...
Working Papers , Paper 11-6

Working Paper
Trade adjustment dynamics and the welfare gains from trade

We build a micro-founded two-country dynamic general equilibrium model in which trade responds more to a cut in tariffs in the long run than in the short run. The model introduces a time element to the fixed-variable cost trade-off in a heterogeneous producer trade model. Thus, the dynamics of aggregate trade adjustment arise from producer-level decisions to invest in lowering their future variable export costs. The model is calibrated to match salient features of new exporter growth and provides a new estimate of the exporting technology. At the micro level, we find that new exporters ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-14

Journal Article
The great trade collapse (and recovery)

The collapse and rebound in U.S. international trade from 2008 to 2010 was quite stunning. Over this period, the fluctuations in international trade were bigger than the fluctuations in either production of or expenditures on traded goods. These relatively large fluctuations in international trade were surprising to some, since international trade had been growing at a very fast pace for quite a long time. They were equally surprising for trade theorists, since these movements in trade arise in standard models of international trade only when the costs of international trade rise and fall ...
Business Review , Issue Q1 , Pages 1-10

Working Paper
Inventories, lumpy trade, and large devaluations

Fixed transaction costs and delivery lags are important costs of international trade. These costs lead firms to import infrequently and hold substantially larger inventories of imported goods than domestic goods. Using multiple sources of data, the authors document these facts. They then show that a parsimoniously parameterized model economy with importers facing an (S, s)-type inventory management problem successfully accounts for these features of the data. Moreover, the model can account for import and import price dynamics in the aftermath of large devaluations. In particular, desired ...
Working Papers , Paper 08-3

Journal Article
The exchange rate: what's in it for prices?

Large movements in the exchange rate are quite common, and they substantially alter one's purchasing power when traveling abroad. Yet these exchange rate movements tend to have a smaller impact on the price of foreign goods that are imported. Following an appreciation of the euro against the dollar, European firms selling products to American firms for import do not raise their prices by nearly as much as the prices they charge consumers in the European market. Similarly, American firms sell their products at higher prices in Europe than at home. This incomplete, or partial, pass-through of ...
Business Review , Issue Q3 , Pages 1-9

Working Paper
Establishment heterogeneity, exporter dynamics, and the effects of trade liberalization

The authors study a variation of the Melitz (2003) model, a monopolistically competitive model with heterogeneity in productivity across establishments and fixed costs of exporting. They calibrate the model to match the employment size distribution of US manufacturing establishments. Export participation in the calibrated model is then compared to the data on US manufacturing exporters. With fixed costs of starting to export about 3.9 times as large as costs of continuing as an exporter, the model can match both the size distribution of exporters and transition into and out of exporting. The ...
Working Papers , Paper 07-17


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