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If Exchange Rates are Random Walks, Then Almost Everything We Say About Monetary Policy is Wrong

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  • Fernando Alvarez
  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

Abstract

The key question asked by standard monetary models used for policy analysis is how do changes in short term interest rates affect the economy. All of the standard models imply that such changes in interest rates affect the economy by altering the conditional means of the macroeconomic aggregates and have no effect on the conditional variances of these aggregates. We argue that the data on exchange rates imply nearly the opposite: fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in conditional variances and nearly no changes in conditional means. In this sense standard monetary models capture essentially none of what is going on in the data. We thus argue that almost everything we say about monetary policy using these models is wrong.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.97.2.339
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/may07/p07027_app.zip
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 339-345

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:2:p:339-345

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.2.339
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References

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  1. Yin-Wong Cheung & Antonio Garcia Pascual & Menzie David Chinn, 2004. "Empirical Exchange Rate Models of the Nineties," IMF Working Papers 04/73, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
  3. Fernando Alvarez & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2009. "Time-Varying Risk, Interest Rates, and Exchange Rates in General Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 851-878.
  4. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn & Antonio Garcia Pascual, 2002. "Empirical Exchange Rate Models of the Nineties: Are Any Fit to Survive?," NBER Working Papers 9393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David K. Backus, 2001. "Affine Term Structure Models and the Forward Premium Anomaly," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 279-304, 02.
  6. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
  7. Brandt, Michael W. & Cochrane, John H. & Santa-Clara, Pedro, 2006. "International risk sharing is better than you think, or exchange rates are too smooth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 671-698, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Granger, Clive W.J., 2012. "Useful conclusions from surprising results," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 169(2), pages 142-146.
  2. A. Craig Burnside & Jeremy J. Graveline, 2013. "Exchange Rate Determination, Risk Sharing and the Asset Market View," Working Papers 13-1, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  3. Callum Jones & Mariano Kulish, 2011. "Long-term Interest Rates, Risk Premia and Unconventional Monetary Policy," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2011-02, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  4. Stephanos Papadamou & Thomas Markopoulos, 2012. "The Monetary Approach to the Exchange Rate Determination for a “Petrocurrency”: The Case of Norwegian Krone," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 299-314, August.
  5. Christopher Gust & David López-Salido, 2009. "Portfolio inertia and the equity premium," International Finance Discussion Papers 984, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Malika Hamadi & Andreas Heinen, 2011. "Ownership Structure and Firm Performance : Evidence from a non-parametric panel," CREA Discussion Paper Series 11-16, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  7. Akito Matsumoto, 2011. "Global Liquidity," IMF Working Papers 11/136, International Monetary Fund.

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