August 24: Paul Ko (Penn State)

Monday, August 24th

Paul Ko (Penn State), Dissecting Trade and Business Cycle Co-movement*


International business cycles have become highly synchronized across countries in the past three decades, yet there is a lack of consensus on whether this is due to an increase in correlated, country-specific shocks or through increased economic integration. To understand this empirical phenomenon, I develop a multi-country real business cycle model with international trade that captures several potential explanations: shocks to productivity, demand, leisure, investment, sectoral expenditures, and trade. By matching the data exactly with the endogenous outcomes of the model, shocks fully account for the data such as GDP and trade shares. Calibrating the model to a panel of developed (G7) countries during 1992-2014, I find that country-pair trade shocks, which capture the increased economic integration and volatility of trade flows, are essential in synchronizing international business cycles. In contrast, other correlated country-specific shocks play relatively minor roles. This suggests that trade shocks through economic integration have been the primary driver of the co-movement of international business cycles. Furthermore, I use my model to address the trade co-movement puzzle, which states that international real business cycle models should be predicting a much stronger link between trade and cross-country GDP correlations. Once I account for the country-pair trade shocks, the model predicts a strong link between trade and business cycle co-movement. This finding suggests that incorporating the dynamics of trade shocks is crucial when studying international business cycles.

Paper below: