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Interpreting Tests of Forward Discount Bias Using Survey Data on Exchange Rate Expectations

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  • Kenneth A. Froot
  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

Abstract

Survey data on exchange rate expectations are used to divide the forward discount into expected depreciation and a risk premium. Our starting point is the common test oh whether the forward discount is an unbiased predictor of future changes in the spot rate. We use the surveys to decompose the bias into a protion attributable to the risk premium and a portion attributable to systematic prediction errors. The survey data suggest that our findings of both unconditional and conditional bias are overwhelmingly due to systematic expectational errors. Regressions of future changes in the spot rate against the forward discount do not yield insights into the sign, size or variability of the risk premium as is usually thought.We test directly the hypothesis of perfect substitutability, and find support for it on that changes in the forward discount reflect, one for one , changes in expected depreciation. The "random-walk" view that expected depreciation is zero os thus rejected; expected depreciation is even significantly more variable than the risk premium. In fact, investors would do better if they always reduced fractionally the magnitude of expected depreciation. This is the same result that Bilson and many others have found with forward market data, but now it cannot be attributed to a risk premium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1963.

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Date of creation: Apr 1989
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Publication status: published as Froot and Frankel, "Forward Discount Bias: Is it an Exchange Risk Premium?" from Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. CIV, Issue 1, pp. 139-161,(February 1989).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1963

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  1. Mussa, Michael, 1979. "Empirical regularities in the behavior of exchange rates and theories of the foreign exchange market," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 9-57, January.
  2. McCallum, Bennett T., 1985. "Bank deregulation, accounting systems of exchange, and the unit of account: A critical review," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 13-45, January.
  3. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
  4. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  5. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1986. "The Dollar as an Irrational Speculative Bubble: A Tale of Fundamentalisists," NBER Working Papers 1854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert E. Cumby & Maurice Obstfeld, 1980. "Exchange-Rate Expectations and Nominal Interest Differentials: A Test ofthe Fisher Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 0537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert J. Hodrick & Sanjay Srivastava, 1983. "An Investigation of Risk and Return in Forward Foreign Exchange," NBER Working Papers 1180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. John F. O. Bilson, 1980. "The "Speculative Efficiency" Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 0474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Huang, Roger D., 1984. "Some alternative tests of forward exchange rates as predictors of future spot rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 153-167, August.
  10. Gregory, Allan W. & McCurdy, Thomas H., 1984. "Testing the unbiasedness hypothesis in the forward foreign exchange market: A specification analysis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 357-368, December.
  11. Ralph Tryon, 1979. "Testing for rational expectations in foreign exchange markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 139, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Longworth, David, 1981. "Testing the Efficiency of the Canadian-U.S. Exchange Market under the Assumption of no Risk Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 43-49, March.
  13. Boothe, Paul & Longworth, David, 1986. "Foreign exchange market efficiency tests: Implications of recent empirical findings," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 135-152, June.
  14. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-53, October.
  15. Krasker, William S., 1980. "The `peso problem' in testing the efficiency of forward exchange markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 269-276, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Beine, Michel & Benassy-Quere, Agnes & MacDonald, Ronald, 2007. "The impact of central bank intervention on exchange-rate forecast heterogeneity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 38-63, March.
  2. Kaufmann, Daniel & Mehrez, Gil & Schmukler, Sergio, 1999. "Predicting currency fluctuations and crises - do resident firms have an informational advantage?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2259, The World Bank.
  3. Jason Childs & Stuart Mestelman, 2006. "Rate-of-return Parity in Experimental Asset Markets," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 331-347, 08.
  4. Rajesh Chakrabarti & Barry Scholnick, 2002. "Exchange rate expectations and foreign direct investment flows," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 1-21, March.
  5. MacDonald, Ronald, 2000. "Is the foreign exchange market 'risky'? Some new survey-based results," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-14, January.
  6. Imad Moosa & Abul Shamsuddin, 2004. "Expectation formation mechanisms, profitability of foreign exchange trading and exchange rate volatility," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(14), pages 1599-1606.
  7. Douglas, Justin J. & Bartley, Scott W., 1997. "Risk premia in Australian interest rates," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 41(2), June.
  8. MacDonald, Ronald, 2000. " Expectations Formation and Risk in Three Financial Markets: Surveying What the Surveys Say," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 69-100, February.
  9. De Grauwe, Paul & Grimaldi, Marianna, 2004. "Bubbles and Crashes in a Behavioural Finance Model," Working Paper Series 164, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  10. Waheed, Muhammad, 2009. "Forward rate unbiased hypothesis, risk premium and exchange rate expectations: estimates on Pakistan Rupee-US Dollar," MPRA Paper 33167, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2010.

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