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The Impact of Regional Isolationism: Disentangling Real and Financial Factors

Archawa Paweenawat and Robert Townsend
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Robert Townsend: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PIER Discussion Papers from Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research

Abstract: Recently, there is a pressure for isolation policies both within the United States and among the EU members. The pressure arises due not only to the difference between regions in the U.S. and/or countries in the EU, but also to the difference across their population which affect the gains and losses from economic integration, both real as from trade in a common market and financial as in a monetary financial union. To get a better understanding of this pressure, one would need a model of trade and capital flows that takes into account the difference between individuals in a region and differences across regions. There is also a need for detail data at the individual and aggregated level, which often are not available. In this paper, we use unique long-panel data of households in Thailand, and from these data, we construct the household financial accounts, the village economic accounts, and the village balance of payments account. We also provide stylized facts on factor prices, factor intensities, financial obstacles, and village openness document differences across regions. Finally at the national level it is clear there is co-mingled variation in trade via devaluations and in finance via policies toward off shore bank and within-country financial infrastructure. We develop a heterogeneous-agent/occupational-choices/trade model with financial frictions carefully built up and calibrated around micro and regional facts, that is, at both the individual level and the aggregate level. Then, we conduct two counterfactual policy experiments. In the first counterfactual experiment, we distinguish the effects of trade from the effects of capital flows. More specifically, we determine what would happen if we allow the prices of goods to change as in baseline scenario while keep borrowing limits and interest rates constant, and vice versa. In the second counterfactual experiment, we determine the effect of isolation policies that impede trade and/or capital flows across regions. We find through these counterfactual experiments that both real and financial factors are at play, that there are differences across regions in impact even when (policy) movements in variables such as interest rates and relative prices, which are exogenous to the regions, are common; impacts can be large, and vary with policy; and impacts are significant heterogeneous with both gains and losses and non-monotone movement across wealth classes and occupations, even allowing for occupation shifts which apriori might have mitigated impact.

Keywords: Economic Integration; Financial Frictions; Occupational Choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E44 F15 F16 O16 O18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 106 page
Date: 2019-05, Revised 2019-05
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