Trade, Production Sharing and the International Transmission of Business Cycles
Christopher Johann Kurz
Countries that are more engaged in production sharing exhibit higher bilateral manufacturing output correlations. We use data on trade flows between US multinationals and their affiliates as well as trade between the United States and Mexican maquiladoras to measure production-sharing trade and its link with the business cycle. We then develop a quantitative model of international business cycles that generates a positive link between the extent of vertically integrated production-sharing trade and internationally synchronized business cycles. A key assumption in the model is a relatively low elasticity of substitution between home and foreign inputs in the production of the vertically integrated good.
This paper is motivated by three observations about the link between international trade and international business cycle synchronization: (1) a large increase in trade in manufactures over the last 30 years, (2) a larger fraction of trade between core and periphery regions relative to core regions is in the form of production sharing, (3) crosscountry output correlations have increased between core and periphery regions relative to core regions. We examine to what extent these observations can be reconciled in a multi-country version of a standard model of international business cycles. Production sharing is captured in a simple way as trade in intermediate inputs that are complements in production. We find that the model is successful qualitatively in account for these observations. Quantitatively, we find that the direct effects from trade do not generate large divergence in output correlationsacrosscountries. Weextendthemodel to allow for cost reduction spillovers from MNEs in the core country to their affiliates in the periphery. This mechanism increases the impact that product sharing has on output correlations between core and peripheral countries.
business cycle sychronization, production sharing,
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