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Interaction between financial and real decisions in an international economy

by Lee, Khang Min

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis examines the interaction between real and financial decisions in a two-country world economy. To understand this interaction, we develop two-country general equilibrium multi-period models of pure exchange and production economies. We model the real decisions of consumption and investment choice and the financial decisions of portfolio choice explicitly under various degrees of financial market integration. ln addition, we allow the governments to act strategically in making their policy choice regarding the degree of integration in the international goods and financial markets. Therefore, Our models allow us to examine the effect of the interaction between real and financial decisions on policy choice in the goods and financial markets. The main results in the thesis are presented in Chapters 3, 4 and 5. We first analyse how the optimal tariff decision may vary under different financial market structures. In order to do so, we determine the government's choice of tariff level using a twogood general equilibrium framework where the financial structure in the economy is explicitly modelled. We find that the extent to which of financial markets are integrated affects trade policy decisions in the comrnodity markets. Specifically, we find an inverse relationship between the Nash equilibrium tariff level and the degree of international financial market integration. The intuition underlying this result is as follows. In our model, the government uses tariffs to cause a favourable change in the terms of trade. However, in the presence of financial markets, households can hedge endowment risks and the change in the terms of trade by using financial contracts. Thus, the favourable terms of trade effect (which is the motivation for a tarifT in our model) associated with a tariff levy is reduced with increasing degrees of financial integration. Given the influence of financial market structure on endogenous t rade policy, we then characterise and nurnerically compute the welfare gains from financial market integration. We identify the welfare gains from two sources. The direct source is the gain from risk-sharing in the financial markets. The second source is the gain from free trade in the commodity market that results from a government's tariff game in the presence of complete financial integrat ion. We find t hat the magnitude of the welfare gain due to free trade is substantially greater than that due to increased risk-sharing capabilities under a reasonable calibration of our world economy. Thus far, we have assumed the financial market segmentation in the economy to be exogenous and our results suggest that the existing financial market structure has important repercussions in the commodity markets. In the third part of OUF analysis, we analyse the government's choice of financial market structure. To do this, we examine the equilibrium policy choice of financial market segmentation in the absence of trade policy. That is, under what conditions will a country find it optimal to limit access to its own or foreign capital markets? Our results suggest that in the special case in which the production technology exhibits constant returns to scale in capital, each country may choose to deny foreign access to its domestic stock market. In general however, we find that complete financial market integration will be the optimal choice for both countries. Our main finding is that there are strong interactions between financial markets and goods markets. Consequently, the optimal tariff level con be very different under different financial market structures. Also, the welfare impact of opening financial markets can be large, given the influence of financial market structure on endogenous tariffs in the goods markets. Finally in a production economy, the optimal financial market structure can be related to the nature of the production technology. Some policy recomrnendations follow from our work. First, the existing financial market structure in the economy should be considered in making the policy choice of a tariff level: the more integrated the financial markets, the lower the optimal tariffs. Second, the share of capital in a country's production technology is an important factor in the decision of the optimal financial market stmcture. When the production technology exhibits decreasing returns to scale in capital, the optimal financial structure is complete integration.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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