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Differences In Income Elasticities and Trends in Real Exchange Rates

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  • Paul Krugman

Abstract

One might expect that differences in income elasticities in trade and/or differences in growth rates among countries would give rise to strong secular trends in real exchange rates; for example, fast-growing countries might need steady depreciation to get the world to accept their growing exports. In fact, however, income elasticities are systematically related to growth rates by the "45-degree rule", under which fast-growing countries appear to face high income elasticities of demand for their exports, while having low income elasticities of import demand. The net effect of this relationship between elasticities and growth rates is that secular trends in real exchange rates are much smaller than one might otherwise have expected: relative PPP holds fairly well. This paper documents the existence of a "45-degree rule", and suggests an explanation in terms of increasing returns and product differentiation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2761.

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Date of creation: Nov 1989
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2761

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  1. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  2. Goldstein, Morris & Khan, Mohsin S., 1985. "Income and price effects in foreign trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1041-1105 Elsevier.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
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