DP17296 Information Frictions and News Media in Global Value Chains
We introduce information frictions into a tractable quantitative multi-country multi-sector model with global value chains. Producers in a sector do not perfectly observe contemporaneous shocks to other countries and sectors, and their output decisions respond to their idiosyncratic beliefs about worldwide productivity innovations. We discipline agents’ information sets with new quarterly data containing the frequencies of country-industry-specific economic news reports by 11 leading newspapers in the G7 plus Spain. Newspapers in each country publish articles on select events in both domestic and partner-country sectors, and not every event is reported worldwide. We show that (i) greater news coverage is associated with smaller GDP forecast errors by professional forecasters; (ii) the dispersion of forecast errors shrinks with higher news coverage; and (iii) sectors more covered in the news exhibit stronger hours growth synchronization, and more so if they trade more with each other. We use these reduced form facts to discipline the key parameters in the new theory—the precision of the vectors of public and private signals about country-sector productivities. We find that (i) imperfect “news” about economic fundamentals can be a quantitatively important source of international fluctuations and (ii) the effects of information frictions are amplified by the global production network. These information frictions appear as correlated labor wedges in standard models without dispersed information.