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Vehicle Currency

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  • Michael B. Devereux
  • Shouyong Shi

Abstract

While in principle, international payments could be carried out using any currency or set of currencies, in practice, the US dollar is predominant in international trade and financial flows. The dollar acts as a `vehicle currency' in the sense that agents in non-dollar economies will generally engage in currency trade indirectly using the US dollar rather than using direct bilateral trade among their own currencies. Indirect trade is desirable when there are transactions costs of exchange. This paper constructs a dynamic general equilibrium model of a vehicle currency. We explore the nature of the efficiency gains arising from a vehicle currency, and show how this depends on the total number of currencies in existence, the size of the vehicle currency economy, and the monetary policy followed by the vehicle currency's government. We find that there can be very large welfare gains to a vehicle currency in a system of many independent currencies. But these gains are asymmetrically weighted towards the residents of the vehicle currency country. The survival of a vehicle currency places natural limits on the monetary policy of the vehicle country.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 54 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 97-133

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Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:54:y:2013:i:1:p:97-133

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References

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  1. Peter Howitt, 2005. "Beyond Search: Fiat Money In Organized Exchange," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 405-429, 05.
  2. Hartmann,Philipp, 1998. "Currency Competition and Foreign Exchange Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521632737, April.
  3. Ross M. Starr, 2003. "Why is there money? Endogenous derivation of `money' as the most liquid asset: a class of examples," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 455-474, 03.
  4. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2003. "The East Asian Dollar Standard, Fear of Floating, and Original Sin," Working Papers 112003, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  5. Rey, Helene, 2001. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 443-64, April.
  6. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Vehicle currency use in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-192, December.
  7. Head, Allen & Shi, Shouyong, 2003. "A fundamental theory of exchange rates and direct currency trades," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1555-1591, October.
  8. Glassman, Debra, 1987. "Exchange rate risk and transactions costs: Evidence from bid-ask spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 479-490, December.
  9. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Vehicle Currencies and the Structure of International Exchange," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 513-26, August.
  10. Aliber, Robert Z. & Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Yan, Shu, 2000. "Transactions Costs in the Foreign Exchange Market," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt4qw3p6rp, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  11. Wright Randall & Trejos Alberto, 2001. "International Currency," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-17, April.
  12. Huang, Roger D & Stoll, Hans R, 1997. "The Components of the Bid-Ask Spread: A General Approach," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(4), pages 995-1034.
  13. Shapley, Lloyd S & Shubik, Martin, 1977. "Trade Using One Commodity as a Means of Payment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 937-68, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Linda S. Goldberg & Cédric Tille, 2013. "A Bargaining Theory of Trade Invoicing and Pricing," NBER Working Papers 18985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Vehicle currency use in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-192, December.
  3. Prakash Kannan, 2007. "On the Welfare Benefits of An International Currency," IMF Working Papers 07/49, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Chinn, Menzie David & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2005. "Will the Euro Eventually Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Reserve Currency?," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt6p4215w1, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
  5. Canzoneri, Matthew & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad & López-Salido, David, 2013. "Key currency status: An exorbitant privilege and an extraordinary risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 371-393.
  6. Linda Goldberg & Cedric Tille, 2006. "The internationalization of the dollar and trade balance adjustment," Staff Reports 255, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Linda S. Goldberg & Cédric Tille, 2006. "The International Role of the Dollar and Trade Balance Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 12495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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