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Author:Ruhl, Kim J. 

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Modeling great depressions: the depression in Finland in the 1990s

This paper is a primer on the great depressions methodology developed by Cole and Ohanian (1999, 2007) and Kehoe and Prescott (2002, 2007). We use growth accounting and simple dynamic general equilibrium models to study the depression that occurred in Finland in the early 1990s. We find that the sharp drop in real GDP over the period 1990?93 was driven by a combination of a drop in total factor productivity (TFP) during 1990?92 and of increases in taxes on labor and consumption and increases in government consumption during 1989?94, which drove down hours worked in Finland. We attempt to ...
Staff Report , Paper 401

Discussion Paper
What will happen when foreigners stop lending to the United States?

Since the early 1990s, the United States has borrowed heavily from its trading partners. This paper presents an analysis of the impact of an end to this borrowing, an end that could occur suddenly or gradually.
Economic Policy Paper , Paper 13-4

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The Opportunity Costs of Entrepreneurs in International Trade

We show that a trade model with an exogenous set of heterogeneous firms with fixed operating costs has the same aggregate outcomes as a span-of-control model. Fixed costs in the heterogeneous-firm model are entrepreneurs' forgone wage in the span-of-control model.
Staff Report , Paper 533

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Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth

Using data from Chile and Korea, we find that a larger fraction of aggregate productivity growth is due to firm entry and exit during fast-growth episodes compared to slow-growth episodes. Studies of other countries confirm this empirical relationship. We develop a model of endogenous firm entry and exit based on Hopenhayn (1992). Firms enter with efficiencies drawn from a distribution whose mean grows over time. After entering, a firm?s efficiency grows with age. In the calibrated model, reducing entry costs or barriers to technology adoption generates the pattern we document in the data. ...
Staff Report , Paper 544

Report
Are shocks to the terms of trade shocks to productivity?

International trade is frequently thought of as a production technology in which the inputs are> exports and the outputs are imports. Exports are transformed into imports at the rate of the price> of exports relative to the price of imports: the reciprocal of the terms of trade. Cast this way, a> change in the terms of trade acts as a productivity shock. Or does it? In this paper, we show that> this line of reasoning cannot work in standard models. Starting with a simple model and then> generalizing, we show that changes in the terms of trade have no first-order effect on> productivity when ...
Staff Report , Paper 391

Working Paper
Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth

Applying the Foster, Haltiwanger and Krizan (FHK) (2001) decomposition to plant-level manufacturing data from Chile and Korea, we find that the entry and exit of plants account for a larger fraction of aggregate productivity growth during periods of fast GDP growth. To analyze this relationship, we develop a model of firm entry and exit based on Hopenhayn (1992). When we introduce reforms that reduce entry costs or reduce barriers to technology adoption into a calibrated model, we find that the entry and exit terms in the FHK decomposition become more important as GDP grows rapidly, just as ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 411

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

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Using the new products margin to predict the industry-level impact of trade reform

This paper develops a methodology for predicting the impact of trade liberalization on exports by industry (3-digit ISIC) based on the pre-liberalization distribution of exports by product (5-digit SITC). Using the results of Kehoe and Ruhl (2013) that much of the growth in trade after trade liberalization is in products that are traded very little or not at all, we predict that industries with a higher share of exports generated by least traded products will experience more growth. Using our methodology, we develop predictions for industry-level changes in trade for the United States and ...
Staff Report , Paper 492

Report
The Interaction and Sequencing of Policy Reforms

In what order should a developing country adopt policy reforms? Do some policies complement each other? Do others substitute for each other? To address these questions, we develop a two-country dynamic general equilibrium model with entry and exit of firms that are monopolistic competitors. Distortions in the model include barriers to entry of firms, barriers to international trade, and barriers to contract enforcement. We find that a reform that reduces one of these distortions has different effects depending on the other distortions present. In particular, reforms to trade barriers and ...
Staff Report , Paper 521

Report
Why have economic reforms in Mexico not generated growth?

Following its opening to trade and foreign investment in the mid-1980s, Mexico?s economic growth has been modest at best, particularly in comparison with that of China. Comparing these countries and reviewing the literature, we conclude that the relation between openness and growth is not a simple one. Using standard trade theory, we find that Mexico has gained from trade, and by some measures, more so than China. We sketch out a theory in which developing countries can grow faster than the United States by reforming. As a country becomes richer, this sort of catch-up becomes more difficult. ...
Staff Report , Paper 453

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