Research

2019
Omar Barbiero. 2019. “The Valuation Effects of Trade.” Job Market Paper.Abstract

This paper estimates the cash flow effects of currency mismatches generated by foreign-priced operations of French manufacturers. My results reconcile large exchange rate effects on gross trade flows with the standard exchange rate disconnect puzzle. I find that the value of transactions invoiced in foreign currencies is twice as sensitive to exchange rates as the value of transactions invoiced in the domestic currency. Movements in nominal valuations drive this result, as opposed to any real demand response. I aggregate pricing choices to the firm level to build a shift-share measure of invoice currency mismatch. My measure outperforms any trade-weighted effective exchange rate index at explaining cash flows, investment, and employment of trading firms. An invoice-weighted exchange rate shock has an average cash flow impact of 45 cents on the dollar across all types of exposed firms. However, virtually all investment and payroll sensitivity to foreign-pricing mismatch come from small domestic-oriented firms. The real macroeconomic effects are limited because large traders are liquid and small exporters partially hedge their dollar-priced exports with dollar-priced imports.

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2018
Omar Barbiero, Gita Gopinath, Emmanuel Farhi, and Oleg Itskhoki. 2018. “The Macroeconomics of Border Taxes.” NBER Macroeconomics Annual, 33, Pp. 395-457. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We analyze the dynamic macroeconomic effects of border adjustment taxes (BAT), both when they are a feature of corporate tax reform (C-BAT) and for the case of value-added tax (VAT). Our analysis arrives at the following main conclusions. First, C-BAT is unlikely to be neutral at the macroeconomic level, as the conditions required for neutrality are unrealistic. The basis for neutrality of VAT is even weaker. Second, in response to the introduction of an unanticipated permanent C-BAT of 20% in the United States, the dollar appreciates strongly, by almost the size of the tax adjustment, and US exports and imports decline significantly, while the overall effect on output is small. Third, an equivalent change in VAT, in contrast to the C-BAT effect, generates only a weak appreciation of the dollar and a small decline in imports and exports, but has a large negative effect on output. Last, border taxes increase government revenues in periods of trade deficit; however, given the net foreign asset position of the United States, they result in a long-run loss of government revenues and an immediate net transfer to the rest of the world.
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2017
Alberto Alesina, Omar Barbiero, Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi, and Matteo Paradisi. 2017. “The Effects of Fiscal Consolidations: Theory and Evidence”.Abstract
We investigate the macroeconomic effects of fiscal consolidations based upon government spending cuts, transfers cuts and tax hikes. We extend a narrative dataset of fiscal consolidations, with details on over 3500 measures for 16 OECD countries. We show that government spending cuts and cuts in transfers are much less harmful than tax hikes, despite the fact that non-distortionary transfers are not classified as spending. Standard New Keynesian models robustly match our results when fiscal shocks are persistent. Wealth effects on aggregate demand mitigate the impact of a persistent spending cut. Static distortions caused by persistent tax hikes cause larger shifts in aggregate supply under sticky prices.
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2015
Alberto Alesina, Omar Barbiero, Francesco Giavazzi, Carlo Favero, and Matteo Paradisi. 7/2015. “Austerity in 2009-2013.” Economic Policy, 30, 83, Pp. 383–437. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The conventional wisdom is (i) that fiscal austerity was the main culprit for the recessions experienced by many countries, especially in Europe, since 2010 and (ii) that this round of fiscal consolidation was much more costly than past ones. The contribution of this paper is a clarification of the first point and, if not a clear rejection, at least it raises doubts on the second. In order to obtain these results we construct a new detailed "narrative" data set which documents the actual size and composition of the fiscal plans implemented by several countries in the period 2009-2013. Out of sample simulations, that project output growth conditional only upon the fiscal plans implemented since 2009 do reasonably well in predicting the total output fluctuations of the countries in our sample over the years 2010-13 and are also capable of explaining some of the cross-country heterogeneity in this variable. Fiscal adjustments based upon cuts in spending appear to have been much less costly, in terms of output losses, than those based upon tax increases. The difference between the two types of adjustment is very large. Our results, however, are mute on the question whether the countries we have studied did the right thing implementing fiscal austerity at the time they did, that is 2009-13. Finally we examine whether this round of fiscal adjustments, which occurred after a financial and banking crisis, has had different effects on the economy compared to earlier fiscal consolidations carried out in "normal" times. When we test this hypothesis we do not reject the null, although in some cases failure to reject is marginal. In other words, we don't find sufficient evidence to claim that the recent rounds of fiscal adjustment, when compared with those occurred before the crisis, have been especially costly for the economy.
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