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A Darwinian Perspective on "Exchange Rate Undervaluation"

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  • Qingyuan Du
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Though the real exchange rate is a key price for most economies, our understanding of its determinants is still incomplete. This paper studies the implications of status competition in the marriage market for the real exchange rate. In theory, a rise in the sex ratio (increasing relative surplus of men) can generate a decline in the real exchange rate (RER) through both a savings channel and an effective labor supply channel. The effects can be quantitatively large if the biological desire for a marriage partner is strong. Empirically, we show that within China, those regions with a faster increase in the sex ratio also exhibit a faster decline in the RER (the relative price of nontradables). Furthermore, across countries, those with a high sex ratio tend to have a low real exchange rate, beyond what can be explained by the Balassa-Samuelson effect, financial underdevelopment, dependence ratio, and exchange rate regime classifications. As an application, the estimation suggests that these structural factors can account for the Chinese exchange rate almost completely.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16788.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16788

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Cited by:
  1. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "Gender 'Rebalancing' in China: A Global-Level Analysis," CAMA Working Papers 2012-46, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  3. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  4. Virginia Di Nino & Barry Eichengreen & Massimo Sbracia, 2011. "Real Exchange Rates, Trade, and Growth: Italy 1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 10, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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