Latest NBER Papers

A fresh batch of NBER papers was announced yesterday. Here’s what may interest trade people:

Shang-Jin Wei & Zhiwei Zhang:

Trade reform conditions are common in IMF supported programs. Of the 99 countries that had IMF programs during 1993-2003, 77 had conditions on trade reforms in their programs. Since the WTO has not been found especially effective in promoting trade openness for most developing countries, it is of great interest to see if the IMF has been more effective as it combines carrots and sticks not available to the WTO. Yet, the effectiveness of trade conditions in IMF programs has not been systematically studied. Using a unique dataset, this paper provides such an assessment. It finds that trade conditions are associated with an increase in trade openness on average, but the effect comes mostly from countries that, by some measure, have a high degree of “willingness to reform.”

Jiandong Ju & Shang-Jin Wei:

International capital flows from rich to poor countries can be regarded as either too small (the Lucas paradox in a one-sector model) or too large (when compared with the logic of factor price equalization in a two-sector model). To resolve the paradoxes, we introduce a non-neo-classical model which features financial contracts and firm heterogeneity. In our model, free trade in goods does not imply equal returns to capital across countries. In addition, rich patterns of gross capital flows emerge as a function of financial and property rights institutions. A poor country with an inefficient financial system may simultaneously experience an outflow of financial capital but an inflow of FDI, resulting in a small net flow. In comparison, a country with a low capital-to-labor ratio but a high risk of expropriation may experience outflow of financial capital without compensating inflow of FDI.

Richard E. Baldwin & Virginia Di Nino:

This paper tests whether trade in new goods is partially responsible for the pro-trade effects of the euro and provides a measure of the size of the effect. It works with a very large data set (about 16 million observations) covering twenty countries at the most disaggregated level of trade data that is publicly available. Using predictions from a heterogeneous-firms trade model in a multi-country environment to structure our empirical model, we find that the euro had a positive impact on trade overall. Our findings provide supportive but not conclusive evidence for the new-goods hypothesis. We also determined the pro-trade effect of euro-usage on non-Euroland nations trading with euro-users. We confirmed the absence of trade diversion for non-Eurozone EU members with sizeable overall increase comparable to that of members.