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Author:Alessandria, George 

Working Paper
Consumer search, price dispersion, and international relative price volatility

This paper develops a model of consumer search consistent with the evidence of substantial price dispersion within countries. This model is used to study international relative price fluctuations. Consumer search frictions permit firms to price discriminate across markets based on the local wage of consumers. With price dispersion, the market price of a good does not measure its resource cost. This breaks the tight link between relative quantities and relative prices implied by most models. We show that volatile and persistent fluctuations in relative wages lead to volatile and persistent ...
Working Papers , Paper 05-9

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
Trade and the (dis)incentive to reform labor markets: the case of reform in the European Union.

In a closed economy general equilibrium model, Hopenhayn and Rogerson (1993) find large welfare gains to removing firing restrictions. We explore the extent to which international trade alters this result. When economies trade, labor market policies in one country spill over to other countries through a change in the terms of trade. This reduces the incentive to reform labor markets. In a policy game over firing taxes between countries, we find that countries optimally choose positive levels of firing taxes. A coordinated elimination of firing taxes yields considerable benefits. This insight ...
Working Papers , Paper 04-18

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

Working Paper
Do sunk costs of exporting matter for net export dynamics?

Not all firms export every period. Firms enter and exit foreign markets. Previous research has suggested that these export participation decisions have significant aggregate implications. In particular, it has been argued that these export decisions are important for the comovements of net exports and the real exchange rate. In this paper, the authors evaluate these predictions in a general equilibrium environment. Specifically, assuming that firms face an up-front, sunk cost of entering foreign markets and a smaller period-by-period continuation cost, they derive the discrete entry and exit ...
Working Papers , Paper 05-20

Working Paper
Do falling iceberg costs explain recent U.S. export growth?

Superseded by Working Paper 12-20 ; The authors study the rise in U.S. manufacturing exports from 1987 to 2002 through the lens of a monopolistically competitive model with heterogeneous producers and sunk costs of exporting. Using the model, they infer that iceberg costs fell nearly 27 percent in this period. Given this change in iceberg costs, the authors use the model to calculate the predicted increase in trade. Contrary to the findings in Yi (2003), they find that the exports should have grown an additional 70 percent (78.7 vs. 46.4). The model overpredicts export growth partly because ...
Working Papers , Paper 10-10

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
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
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

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

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