Factor Proportions and International Business Cycles
Positive investment comovements across OECD economies as observed in the data are difficult to replicate in open-economy real business cycle models, but also vary substantially in degree for individual country-pairs. This paper shows that a two-country stochastic growth model that distinguishes sectors by factor intensity (capital-intensive vs. labor-intensive) gives rise to an endogenous channel of the international transmission of shocks that first, can substantially ameliorate the “quantity anomalies” that mark large open-economy models, and second, generate a cross-sectional prediction that is strongly supported by the data: investment correlations tend to be stronger for country-pairs that exhibit greater disparity in the factor-intensity of trade. In addition, three new pieces of evidence support the central mechanism: (1) the production composition of capital versus labor-intensive sectors changes over the business cycle; (2) the prices of capital-intensive goods and labor-intensive goods are respectively, procyclical and countercyclical; (3) a positive productivity shock in the U.S. tilts the composition of production towards capital-intensive sectors in other countries.
9 November 2011 Paper Number CEPDP1090
This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's programme.