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If exchange rates are random walks, then almost everything we say about monetary policy is wrong

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Author Info

  • 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: the observation that exchange rates are approximately random walks implies that 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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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (2008)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 2-9

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2008:i:jul:p:2-9:n:v.32no.1

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Related research

Keywords: Foreign exchange ; Random walks (Mathematics) ; Monetary policy;

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References

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  1. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Pascual, Antonio Garcia, 2005. "Empirical exchange rate models of the nineties: Are any fit to survive?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1150-1175, November.
  2. Fernando Alvarez & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick Kehoe, 2007. "Time-Varying Risk, Interest Rates, and Exchange Rates in General Equilibrium," Working Papers CAS_RN_2007_6, Laboratory for Macroeconomic Analysis.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Akito Matsumoto, 2011. "Global Liquidity: Availability of Funds for Safe and Risky Assets," IMF Working Papers 11/136, International Monetary Fund.
  3. 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.).
  4. 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.
  5. Granger, Clive W.J., 2012. "Useful conclusions from surprising results," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 169(2), pages 142-146.

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