National and International Business Cycles : the Role of Financial Frictions and Shocks

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Rouillard, Jean-Francois
financial markets , business cycles
This dissertation investigates the effects of frictions that emerge from financial markets on business-cycle fluctuations. The purpose of Chapter 1 is to situate my work in the literature and to stress its contributions. In Chapter 2, I reassess the role of financial frictions in amplifying the impacts of productivity shocks using a framework in which a fraction of firms are borrowing-constrained and land is a collateral asset. A first finding is that amplification effects are much lower when land is supplied elastically. However, financial shocks that affect the maximum allowable ratio of loans to collateral have greater effects on output. Another result pertains to the role of the elasticity of substitution between land and capital in responses to financial shocks: lower values generate greater output responses. While Chapter 2's environment is set up to be in a closed-economy, the last two chapters involve two-country settings. Chapter 3 still intersects with Chapter 2 on some dimensions, in particular, land dynamics and financial frictions that feature borrowing-constrained firms. The borrowing mechanism brings about a distortion in labour markets that interacts with a class of preferences that are non-separable between consumption and leisure. Technology shocks contribute to explain international co-movements, whereas financial shocks allow the model to replicate the lack of international risk sharing that is characterized by the quantity anomaly and the Backus-Smith puzzle. In Chapter 4, I apply Chari, Kehoe and McGrattan’s (2007) business cycle accounting method to a two-country, two-good real business cycle model. Using their approach, I measure the same closed-economy time-varying wedges and I introduce an international wedge that accounts for discrepancies between the growth in real exchange rates and in the stochastic discount factors ratio. In fact, the effects of financial frictions embedded in Chapter 3's framework can be retrieved from a combination of labour and investment wedges. The volatility of the international wedge corresponds to a metric of bilateral risk sharing. An important finding is that, from a non-separable preferences specification of the baseline model, the investment wedge partly accounts for the Backus-Smith puzzle. This suggests that distortions in national capital markets are important to consider for international risk sharing.
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