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The political economy of “currency manipulation” bashing

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  • Ramirez, Carlos D.

Abstract

In recent years, one of the most frequently debated issues in Congress has been the value of the Chinese renminbi (RMB) relative to the U.S. dollar. Many members of Congress often accuse China of being a “currency manipulator.” This paper has two objectives. First, it investigates the extent to which PAC contributions from key interest groups as well as constituent interests influence the frequency with which members of Congress criticize China's exchange rate policy, controlling for other factors. The results indicate that the odds that a congressman will call China a “currency manipulator” are 1.35 times higher for every $5000 in PAC contributions from groups that favor legislation against China. In addition, the results show that a one percentage point increase in the share of the congressional district labor force in manufacturing is associated with a 19.6% increase in the likelihood that the district's legislator will label China a “currency manipulator.” Second, this paper investigates the consequences that “currency manipulation” bashing may have on the rate at which the RMB appreciates against the U.S. dollar. The results for a VAR model indicate that an increase in the incidence of “currency manipulation” bashing appears to temporarily slow down, rather than accelerate, the rate at which the renminbi appreciates against the dollar. This result suggests that bashing China may actually be counterproductive.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 227-237

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Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:27:y:2013:i:c:p:227-237

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

Related research

Keywords: Currency manipulation; China bashing; PAC contributions; Renminbi;

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References

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  1. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn & Eiji Fujii, 2009. "China's Current Account and Exchange Rate," CESifo Working Paper Series 2587, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
  3. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
  4. Thomas Stratmann, 2005. "Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 135-156, July.
  5. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-31, April.
  6. Robert W. Staiger & Alan O. Sykes, 2008. ""Currency Manipulation" and World Trade," NBER Working Papers 14600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1979. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 365-84, October.
  8. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
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