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Understanding the Backus-Smith puzzle: It's the (nominal) exchange rate, stupid

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  • Hess, Gregory D.
  • Shin, Kwanho

Abstract

Backus, Kehoe and Kydland (BKK 1992) demonstrated that if international capital markets are complete, consumption growth correlations across countries should be higher than their corresponding output growth correlations. In stark contrast to the theory, however, in actual data the consumption growth correlation is lower than the output growth correlation. By assuming trade imperfections due to non-traded goods, Backus, D.K., Smith, G.W. [1993 Consumption and real exchange rates in dynamic economies with non-traded goods. Journal of International Economics 35(3-4), 297-316] showed that there is an additional impediment at work that can lower the consumption growth correlation. While their argument was successful in partially explaining the puzzlingly low cross country correlation of consumption growth rates, it contributed to generating another puzzle because the data forcefully show that consumption growth is negatively correlated with the real exchange rate, which is also a violation of the theory. Using data for OECD countries, we decompose real exchange rate growth into its nominal exchange rate growth and inflation differential components, and find that nominal exchange rate movements are the main source for the Backus-Smith puzzle. We demonstrate the robustness of this finding by examining sub-samples of the data, by allowing for imperfect risk sharing due to 'rule of thumb' consumers, and by examining intranational data across the U.S. states where the nominal exchange rate is fixed.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 169-180

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:29:y:2010:i:1:p:169-180

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

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Keywords: Risk sharing Exchange rate Consumption growth correlation Output growth correlation Non-trade goods;

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References

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  1. Mario J. Crucini, 1999. "On International and National Dimensions of Risk Sharing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 73-84, February.
  2. Marco Del Negro, 2000. "Asymmetric shocks among U.S. states," Working Paper 2000-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Gregory D. Hess & Kwanho Shin, 1995. "Intranational business cycles in the United States," Research Working Paper 95-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  4. Sorensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1997. "Income and Consumption Smoothing Among US States: Regions or Clubs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1670, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Canova, Fabio & Ravn, Morten O., 1994. "International Consumption Risk Sharing," CEPR Discussion Papers 1074, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Hess, Gregory D. & Shin, Kwanho, 2000. "Risk sharing by households within and across regions and industries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 533-560, June.
  7. Backus, David K. & Smith, Gregor W., 1993. "Consumption and real exchange rates in dynamic economies with non-traded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 297-316, November.
  8. Lewis, Karen K, 1996. "What Can Explain the Apparent Lack of International Consumption Risk Sharing?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 267-97, April.
  9. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-75, August.
  10. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  11. Ravn, Morten O., 2001. "Consumption Dynamics and Real Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 2940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2013. "Assessing International Efficiency," CEPR Discussion Papers 9424, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Michael B. Devereux & Gregor W. Smith & James Yetman, 2009. "Consumption and Real Exchange Rates in Professional Forecasts," Working Papers 1195, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Gianluca Benigno & Pierpaolo Benigno & Salvatore Nistic�, 2012. "Risk, Monetary Policy, and the Exchange Rate," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 247 - 309.
  4. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Francesca Viani, 2011. "Traded and Nontraded Goods Prices, and International Risk Sharing: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011, pages 403-466 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Aidan Corcoran, 2008. "International Financial Integration and Consumption Risk Sharing," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp241, IIIS.
  6. M. Hadzi-Vaskov, 2008. "Does the nominal exchange rate explain the Backus-Smith puzzle? evidence from the Eurozone," Working Papers 07-32, Utrecht School of Economics.
  7. Michael B. Devereux & Viktoria Hnatkovska, 2011. "Consumption Risk-Sharing and the Real Exchange Rate: Why does the Nominal Exchange Rate Make Such a Difference?," NBER Working Papers 17288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Matthew Canzoneri & Robert Cumby & Behzad Diba, 2013. "Addressing International Empirical Puzzles: the Liquidity of Bonds," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 197-215, April.

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