Western Hemisphere

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Mr. David Cook and Nikhil Patel
Recent literature has highlighted that international trade is mostly priced in a few key vehicle currencies and is increasingly dominated by intermediate goods and global value chains (GVCs). Taking these features into account, this paper reexamines the relationship between monetary policy, exchange rates and international trade flows. Using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) framework, it finds key differences between the response of final goods and GVC trade to both domestic and foreign shocks depending on the origin and ultimate destination of value added and the intermediate shipments involved. For example, the model shows that in response to a dollar appreciation triggered by a US interest rate increase, direct bilateral trade between non-US countries contracts more than global value chain oriented trade which feeds US final demand, and exports to the US decline much more when measured in gross as opposed to value added terms. We use granular data on GVCs at the sector level to document empirical evidence in favor of these key predictions of the model.
Mr. Taehoon Kim
The US economy is often referred to as the “banker to the world,” due to its unique role in supplying global reserve assets and funding foreign risky investment. This paper develops a general equilibrium model to analyze and quantify the contribution of this role to rising wealth concentration among American households. I highlight the following points: 1) financial globalization raises wealth inequality in a financially-developed economy initially due to foreign capital pressing up domestic asset prices; 2) much of this increase is transitory and can be reversed as future expected returns on domestic assets fall; and 3) despite the low-interest-rate environment, newly accessed foreign capital provides incentives for affluent households to reallocate wealth toward risky assets while impoverished households increase their debt. Wealth concentration ensues only if this rebalancing effect is large enough to counteract diminished return on domestic assets. Quantitative analysis suggests that global financial integration alone can account for a third to a half of the observed increase in the current top one percent wealth share in the US, but indicates a possible reversal in the future.
Gustavo Adler, Sergii Meleshchuk, and Ms. Carolina Osorio Buitron
The paper explores how international integration through global value chains shapes the working of exchange rates to induce external adjustment both in the short and medium run. The analysis indicates that greater integration into international value chains reduces the exchange rate elasticity of gross trade volumes. This result holds both in the short and medium term, pointing to the rigidity of value chains. At the same time, greater value chain integration is associated with larger gross trade flows, relative to GDP, which tends to amplify the effect of exchange rate movements. Overall, combining these two results suggests that, for most countries, integration into global value chains does not materially alter the working of exchange rates and the benefits of exchange rate flexibility in facilitating external adjustment remain.
Mr. Balazs Csonto, Yuxuan Huang, and Mr. Camilo E Tovar Mora
This paper examines the extent to which digitalization—measured by a new proxy based on IP addresses allocations per country—has influenced inflation dynamics in a sample of 36 advanced and emerging economies over 2000-2017. Phillips curve estimates show that digitalization has a statistically significant negative effect on inflation in the short run. Its economic impact is not large but has increased since 2012 and mainly operates through a cost/competition channel. Principal components and cointegration analysis further suggest digitalization is a key driver of lower trend inflation.