FRBSF Economic Letters

Economic analysis for a general audience

Mark Spiegel


China’s demand for imports helps support the global economic recovery, so China’s recent economic slowdown has caused international concern. China’s slowdown is concentrated in the industrial sector, while its emerging service sector has shown much new strength. However, China’s service sector is relatively closed and relies only modestly on imports. Accordingly, service sector growth is unlikely to offset the adverse implications of a slowing China for global trade.

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Analysis of current economic developments and the outlook

SF Fed Forecast Preview

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Western Economic Developments

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Working Papers

The latest in economic research

Bart Hobijn and Fernanda Nechio

We estimate the upper-level elasticity of substitution between goods and services of a nested aggregate CES preference specification. We show how this elasticity can be derived from the long-run response of the relative price of a good to a change in its VAT rate. We estimate this elasticity using new data on changes in VAT rates across 74 goods and services for 25 E.U. countries from 1996 through 2015. Our results point to an upper-level elasticity of between 1, at a high level of aggregation that distinguishes 12 categories of goods and services, and 3, at the lowest level of aggregation with 74 categories.

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