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Specialisation patterns, GDP correlations and external balances

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    Rights statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in CESifo Economic Studies following peer review. The version of record Alejandro Cuñat, Robert Zymek; Specialization Patterns, GDP Correlations, and External Balances. CESifo Econ Stud 2017 ifw019. doi: 10.1093/cesifo/ifw019. is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/cesifo/article/2972684/Specialization

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Original languageEnglish
Article numberifw019
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalCESifo Economic Studies
Issue number2
Early online date7 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017


This paper provides evidence of a link between specialisation patterns - in intermediate inputs or final goods - and business cycle correlations: countries with a similar intermediate-good content of exports tend to have more correlated GDP fluctuations and external balances. We produce a model that replicates these facts. A productivity shock in a large country ("the U.S.") has a smaller effect on the terms of trade of countries that share its specialisation, while being shared fully with countries specialised in the other type of good through a terms-of-trade effect. In the presence of complete asset markets, the trade balance reflects the flow of insurance payments. All countries who benefit little from the shock in the large country will have correlated, negative net exports. The trade balances of all other countries will jointly move in the opposite direction.

    Research areas

  • international business cycles, net exports, intermediate inputs

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