Showing results 1 to 10 of approximately 16.(refine search)
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 ...
Taking Stock of the Evidence on Microfinancial Interventions
We review the empirical evidence on microfinance and asset grants to the ultra poor or microentrepreneurs and use quantitative economic theory to account for this evidence. Properly executed, these interventions can help segments of the population increase their income and consumption, but neither literature gives much reason to believe that such interventions can lead to wide-scale, transformative impacts akin to escaping aggregate poverty traps.
Can Self-Help Groups Really Be 'Self-Help'?
We provide an experimental and theoretical evaluation of a cost-reducing innovation in the delivery of "self-help group" microfinance services, in which privatized agents earn payments through membership fees for providing services. Under the status quo, agents are paid by an outside donor and offer members free services. In our multi-country randomized control trial we evaluate the change in this incentive scheme on agent behavior and performance, and on overall village-level outcomes. We find that privatized agents start groups, attract members, mobilize savings, and intermediate loans at ...
Pricing-to-market and the failure of absolute PPP
The authors show that deviations from the law of one price in tradable goods are an important source of violations of absolute PPP across countries. Using highly disaggregated export data, they document systematic international price discrimination: at the U.S. dock, U.S. exporters ship the same good to low-income countries at lower prices. This pricing-to-market is about twice as important as any local non-traded inputs, such as distribution costs, in explaining the differences in tradable prices across countries. The authors propose a model of consumer search that generates ...
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 ...
Scale and the origins of structural change
Structural change involves a broad set of trends: (i) sectoral reallocations, (ii) rich movements of productive activities between home and market, and (iii) an increase in the scale of productive units. After extending these facts, we develop a model to explain them within a unified framework. The crucial distinction between manufacturing, services, and home production is the scale of the productive unit. Scale technologies give rise to industrialization and the marketization of previously home produced activities. The rise of mass consumption leads to an expansion of manufacturing, but a ...
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 ...
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, we document these facts. We 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 inventory ...
The Stable Transformation Path
Standard dynamic models of structural transformation, without knife-edge and counterfactual parameter values, preclude balanced growth path (BGP) analysis. This paper develops a dynamic equilibrium concept for a more general class of models | an alternative to a BGP, which we coin a Stable Transformation Path (STraP). The STraP characterizes the medium-term dynamics of the economy in a turnpike sense; it is the path toward which the economy (quickly) converges from an arbitrary initial capital stock. Calibrated simulations demonstrate that the relaxed parameter values that the STraP allows ...
The macroeconomics of microfinance
We provide a quantitative evaluation of the aggregate and distributional impact of microfinance or credit programs targeted toward small businesses. We find that the redistributive impact of microfinance is stronger in general equilibrium than in partial equilibrium, but the impact on aggregate output and capital is smaller in general equilibrium. Aggregate total factor productivity (TFP) increases with microfinance in general equilibrium but decreases in partial equilibrium. When general equilibrium effects are accounted for, scaling up the microfinance program will have only a small impact ...