International trade

Marc Auboin, Floriana Borino, 26 June 2017

In recent years there has been debate over whether the global trade slowdown and related fall in trade-to-income elasticity was structural or cyclical. This column estimates the standard import equation for 38 advanced and developing economies using an import intensity-adjusted measure of aggregate demand. This measure allows the authors to predict 90% of changes in global imports. The slowdown in global value chains explains more than half of the remaining share of the global trade slowdown, while protectionism does not appear to be statistically significant.

Frank Mattern, Jan Mischke, 21 June 2017

Germany’s large trade surplus is once again at the centre of controversy. This column argues that instead of being on the defensive about its competitive exports, Germany should look to reduce its current account surplus by making itself more competitive in the long term through smart investment in digital and other infrastructure.

Mary Amiti, Emmanuel Farhi, Gita Gopinath, Oleg Itskhoki, 19 June 2017

One component of the Republicans’ cash-flow tax proposal for corporate reform in the US is the inclusion of a border adjustment tax. This column, taken from a recent eBook, assesess this politically controversial and often misconstrued tax adjustment that makes export sales deductible from the corporate tax base, while expenditure on imported goods would not be deductible. 

Christopher Meissner, John Tang, 16 June 2017

Economists have long been interested in the dynamics of comparative advantage, but have only recently begun to use detailed product-level data in their analysis. This column examines the Japanese experience after the liberalisation of the 1850s. It suggests that trade costs, destination market demand conditions, and product specific factors played key roles in Japanese exports growth. Roughly 30% of growth in exports between 1880 and 1910 came from shipping new goods to new countries, selling new goods to extant trade partners, and introducing existing products to new countries.

Kerem Cosar, Banu Demir, 13 June 2017

Container shipping is considered to be one of the drivers of globalisation. This column uses micro-level data to show evidence that confirms the role of 'the box' in the global economy: it implies significant cost savings and explains a significant amount of the global trade increase since its inception. The results also suggest that most of its trade-increasing effect has already been realised.

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