Essays on International Trade and Business Cycles
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This research investigates how international trade and business cycles vary with characteristics of industries. The first chapter documents cost side industry heterogeneity across narrowly defined industries. The second and third chapters study the short run (international business cycle) and long run (home market effect) phenomenon, respectively. The research contributes to a better understanding of how the supply side industry heterogeneity plays a vital role in international trade and macroeconomics. The first chapter provides a method to estimate the cost structure. The approach relies on cost minimization and free entry condition with frictions, which allows decomposing sources of economies of scale into a sloping marginal cost curve and fixed cost. The US manufacturing industry data show that industry-level economies of scale are more strongly associated with marginal costs than fixed costs. The second chapter shows that the industry's international business cycle patterns vary systemically by the slopes. In industries with decreasing marginal costs, output, imports, and exports are all more correlated with aggregate GDP than in industries with increasing marginal costs. To rationalize the observed patterns, this chapter introduces sloping marginal cost curves and their variations across industries in an open economy macroeconomic model. It delivers endogenous export gains/losses and within-firm links between domestic and export markets which generate two attractive features of the model: (i) it raises model-implied cross-country aggregate GDP comovements which are close to the data, and (ii) it reproduces observed industrial international business cycle patterns. The results suggest that sloping marginal cost curves and their heterogeneity are informative to understand the international business cycle. The third chapter studies how industry characteristics determine the home market effect: the impact of country size on trade surplus and the location of industries. This chapter constructs a two-country multi-industry new trade model that allows for various supply- and demand-side industry characteristics. A novel feature of the model is that economies of scale arise not just from fixed costs, but also from sloping marginal cost curves. The model predicts that large countries have a higher concentration of industries in which (i) marginal costs are an important source of economies of scale, and (ii) products are more differentiated. This chapter tests these theoretical predictions using a gravity-based specification and introduces instrumental variables to fix measurement error and proxy problems. The empirical results are consistent with the main predictions of the model. The results show that the primary building blocks of new trade theory, economies of scale and product differentiation, are central to understanding international trade patterns in narrowly defined industries. The research supposes that a non-linear cost function and variations in cost structure across industries improve our understanding of international trade and business cycles.
- Economics