The present-value model of the current account has been rejected: Round up the usual suspects
Tests of the present-value model of the current account are frequently rejected by the data. Standard explanations rely on the "usual suspects" of nonseparable preferences, shocks to fiscal policy and the world real interest rate, and imperfect international capital mobility. The authors confirm these rejections on postwar Canadian data, then investigate their source by calibrating and simulating alternative versions of a small open economy, real business cycle model. Monte Carlo experiments reveal that, although each of the suspects matters in some way, a "canonical" RBC model moves closest ...
Puzzles in the Chinese stock market
Many companies on China's stock markets have separate, restricted classes of shares for domestic residents and foreigners. Other than who can own them, these shares are identical, but foreigners pay only about one-quarter the price paid by domestic residents. We show that plausible differences--about 4 percentage-points--in expected rates of return by foreign and domestic investors can account for the generally higher level and volatility of prices for domestic shares relative to foreign shares. We attribute low Chinese expected returns to the limited alternative investments available in ...
Government budget deficits and trade deficits: are present value constraints satisfied in long-term data?
We undertake tests of whether long term data from the U.S. and U.K. are consistent with the intertemporal government budget constraint and the intertemporal external borrowing constraint being satisfied in expected value terms, both individually and simultaneously. An historical perspective is appropriate for focusing on whether the present value constraints (PVCs) continue to hold in the face of unusual events, such as the outbreak of wars, that cause a structural break in the short-run dynamic behavior of the variables. This provides a very strong test of whether intertemporal budget ...
Relative price volatility: what role does the border play?
We reexamine the effect of the U.S.-Canadian border on integration of markets. The paper updates work from our earlier paper, Engel and Rogers (1996). We consider alternative measures of deviations from the law of one price. We pay special attention to the effect of the U.S.-Canada free trade agreement on market integration. Our conclusions are unchanged: markets in the U.S. and Canada are more segmented than can be explained by the physical distance between the two locations. Formal trade barriers do not appear to explain much of that segmentation.
Exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices: some new evidence
This paper documents a sustained decline in exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices, from above 0.5 during the 1980s to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.2 during the last decade. This decline in the pass-through coefficient is robust to the measure of foreign prices that is included in the regression (i.e., CPI versus PPI), whether the estimation is done in levels or differences, and whether U.S. prices are included as an explanatory variable. Notably, the largest estimates of pass-through are obtained when commodity prices are excluded from the regression. In this case, the ...
Inflation and the great ratios: long-term evidence from the U.S.
Using over 100 years of U.S. data, we find that the long-run effects of inflation on consumption, investment, and output are positive. Thus, models generating long-term negative effects of inflation on output and consumption (including endogenous growth and RBC models with money) seem to be at odds with data from the moderate inflation rate environment we consider. Also, great ratios like the consumption and investment rates are not independent of inflation, which we interpret in terms of the Fisher effect. However, in the full sample, the variability of the stochastic inflation trend is ...
Border prices and retail prices
We analyze retail prices and at-the-dock (import) prices of specific items in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) CPI and IPP databases, using both databases simultaneously to identify items that are identical in description at the dock and when sold at retail. This identification allows us to measure the distribution wedge associated with bringing traded goods from the point of entry into the United States to their retail outlet. We find that overall U.S. distribution wedges are 50-70%, around 10 to 20 percentage points higher than that reported in the literature. We discuss the ...
The U.S. current account deficit and the expected share of world output
We investigate the possibility that the large current account deficits of the U.S. are the outcome of optimizing behavior. We develop a simple long-run world equilibrium model in which the current account is determined by the expected discounted present value of its future share of world GDP relative to its current share of world GDP. The model suggests that under some reasonable assumptions about future U.S. GDP growth relative to the rest of the advanced countries--more modest than the growth over the past 20 years--the current account deficit is near optimal levels. We then explore the ...
Price level convergence, relative prices, and inflation in Europe
If price levels are initially different across the euro area, convergence to a common level of prices would imply that inflation will be higher in countries where prices are initially low. Price level convergence thus provides a potential explanation for recent cross-country differences in European inflation, a worrisome development under the ECBs "one-size-fits-all" monetary policy. I present direct evidence on price level convergence in Europe, using a unique data set, and then investigate how much of the recent divergence of national inflation rates can be explained by price level ...
Relative returns on equities in Pacific Basin countries