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Investing in Foreign Currency is like Betting on your Intertemporal Marginal Rate of Substitution

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  • Hanno Lustig
  • Adrien Verdelhan

Abstract

Investors earn positive excess returns on high interest rate foreign discount bonds, because these currencies appreciate on average. Lustig and Verdelhan (2005) show that investing in high interest rate foreign discount bonds exposes them to more aggregate consumption risk, while low interest rate foreign bonds provide a hedge. This paper provides a simple model that replicates these facts. Investing in foreign currency is like betting on the difference between your own intertemporal marginal rate of substitution (IMRS) and your neighbor's IMRS. These bets are very risky if your neighbor's IMRS is not correlated with yours, but they provide a hedge when his IMRS is highly correlated and more volatile. If the foreign neighbors that face low interest rates also have more volatile and correlated IMRS, that accounts for the spread in excess returns in the data. (JEL: F31, G12) (c) 2006 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 644-655

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:4:y:2006:i:2-3:p:644-655

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  1. Eddie Dekel & Barton Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Temptation–Driven Preferences," Discussion Papers 1423, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
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Cited by:
  1. Costa, Carlos Eugênio da & Issler, João Victor & Matos, Paulo F., 2013. "The Forward- and the Equity-Premium Puzzles: A Straightforward Test of Whether They Are Two Symptoms of the Same Illness," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 738, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  2. Costa, Carlos E. da & Issler, João Victor & Matos, Paulo F., 2013. "A Note on the Forward- and the Equity-Premium Puzzles: Two Symptoms of the Same Illness?," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 743, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. Victoria Galsband & Thomas Nitschka, 2013. "Currency excess returns and global downside market risk," Working Papers 2013-07, Swiss National Bank.
  4. A. Craig Burnside & Jeremy J. Graveline, 2012. "On the Asset Market View of Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 18646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2009. "Comment on "Carry Trades and Currency Crashes"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 361-384 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Costa, Carlos E. da & Issler, João Victor & Matos, Paulo F., 2010. "The forward- and the equity-premium puzzles: two symptoms of the same illness?," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 712, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  7. Christian Grisse & Thomas Nitschka, 2013. "On financial risk and the safe haven characteristics of Swiss franc exchange rates," Working Papers 2013-04, Swiss National Bank.

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