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Productivity and Global Imbalances: The Role of Nontradable Total Factor Productivity in Advanced Economies

Pietro Cova (), Massimiliano Pisani (), Nicoletta Batini () and Alessandro Rebucci ()

IMF Staff Papers, 2008, vol. 55, issue 2, 312-325

Abstract: This paper investigates the role played by total factor productivity (TFP) in the tradable and nontradable sectors of the United States, the euro area, and Japan in the emergence and evolution of today's global trade imbalances. Simulation results based on a dynamic general equilibrium model of the world economy, and using the new EU KLEMS database, indicate that TFP developments in these economies can account for a significant fraction of the deterioration in the U.S. trade balance since 1998, as well as for some of the surpluses in the euro area and Japan. Differences in TFP developments across sectors can also partially explain the evolution of the real effective value of the U.S. dollar during this period. These results highlight the importance of focusing on productivity developments in the nontradable sector of these large, relatively closed economies to understand the evolution of their trade balance and real exchange rate. IMF Staff Papers (2008) 55, 312–325. doi:10.1057/imfsp.2008.5; published online 22 April 2008

Date: 2008
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