The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
By using a simple intertemporal model of the current account, I show that the exchange rate elasticity of the trade balance would ceteris paribus be smaller for countries with higher government spending ratios (relative to GDP) and with more limited scope for private consumption smoothing. This finding may have important implications for the design of adjustment programs and for resolving current global imbalances. It could also help explain and reconcile mixed empirical findings on trade elasticities.