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Incomes, Exchange Rates and the US Trade Deficit, Once Again

By Menzie D. Chinn, Yin-wong Cheung, Neil Ericsson, Joe Gagnon, Bill Helkie, Robert Z. Lawrence, Catherine Mann and Jaime Marquez


The chronic and expanding US trade deficit has refocused attention upon the responsiveness of trade flows to exchange rate and income changes. I estimate import and export equations over a period spanning the 1990s New Economy boom and the subsequent recession and dollar depreciation. The results indicate (1) a low responsiveness of imports to exchange rate changes, and (2) a diminution (but not disappearance) of the income elasticity asymmetry first noted by Houthakker and Magee. The combination of low price elasticity of imports with the present size of the trade deficit means that any reduction of the trade deficit will necessarily be accompanied by large exchange rate and income trend adjustments. I

Year: 2013
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