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Trade in Commodities and Business Cycle Volatility

FRB of St. Louis 2018.06.12

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This paper studies the role of the patterns of production and international trade on the higher business cycle volatility of emerging economies. We study a multi-sector small open economy in which firms produce and trade commodities and manufactures. We estimate the model to match key cross-sectional differences across countries: emerging economies run trade surpluses in commodities and trade deficits in manufactures, while sectoral trade flows are balanced in developed economies. We find that these differences amplify the response of emerging economies to fluctuations in commodity prices. We show evidence consistent with these findings using cross-country data.

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