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.
This paper studies the volatility of consumption relative to output in the context of a simple general equilibrium model of a small open economy subject to exogenous shocks in productivity. With infinite horizons and exogenous relative prices, the model generates variance estimates that are well above what can be observed in empirical data. While finite horizons and endogenous terms of trade reduce the volatility of consumption, the model fails to generate sufficient serial correlation with respect to the consumption growth rate. If the household’s decision problem is modified to take into account durability and adjustment costs, the model does well on both dimensions.