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Understanding the Backus-Smith Puzzle: It’s the (Nominal) Exchange Rate, Stupid

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  • Hess, Gregory
  • Shin, Kwanho

Abstract

Backus, Kehoe and Kydland (BKK 1992) showed that if international capital markets are complete, consumption growth correlations across countries should be higher than their corresponding output growth correlations. In stark contrast to the theory, however, in actual data the consumption growth correlation is lower than the output growth correlation. By assuming trade imperfections due to non-traded goods, Backus and Smith (1993) showed that there is an additional impediment that works to lower the consumption growth correlation. While Backus and Smith’s argument was successful in partially explaining the low growth correlation puzzle, it contributed to generating another puzzle because the data forcefully showed that consumption growth is negatively correlated with the real exchange rate, which is a violation of the theory. In this paper, by decomposing the real exchange rate growth of the OECD countries into the nominal exchange rate growth and the inflation differential, we find that nominal exchange rate movements are the main source for the Backus-Smith puzzle. We find that the nominal exchange rate moves counter-cyclically with consumption movements, which is a violation of the risk sharing theory with non-traded goods. We also find that the violations are more pronounced when nominal exchange rate changes are larger in absolute value . In contrast, the negative of bilateral inflation differentials is positively correlated with bilateral consumption movements. The latter finding is in accordance with the theory. Furthermore, using intranational data for the United States where the nominal exchange rate is constant, the Backus-Smith puzzle disappears, although complete risk sharing is rejected.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 696.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:696

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Keywords: Risk Sharing; Exchange Rate;

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  1. Hess, Gregory D. & Shin, Kwanho, 2000. "Risk sharing by households within and across regions and industries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 533-560, June.
  2. Ravn, Morten O., 2001. "Consumption Dynamics and Real Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 2940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Bent E. Sørensen & Oved Yosha, 1996. "Income and Consumption Smoothing among US States: Regions or Clubs?," Discussion Papers 96-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Marco Del Negro, 2000. "Asymmetric shocks among U.S. states," Working Paper 2000-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  5. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Canova, Fabio & Ravn, Morten O., 1994. "International Consumption Risk Sharing," CEPR Discussion Papers 1074, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. David K. Backus & Gregor W. Smith, 1993. "Consumption and Real Exchange Rates in Dynamic Economies with Non-Traded Goods," Working Papers 1252, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Mario J. Crucini, 1999. "On International and National Dimensions of Risk Sharing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 73-84, February.
  10. Hess, Gregory D. & Shin, Kwanho, 1998. "Intranational business cycles in the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 289-313, April.
  11. Lewis, Karen K, 1996. "What Can Explain the Apparent Lack of International Consumption Risk Sharing?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 267-97, April.
  12. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1991. "International real business cycles," Staff Report 146, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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Cited by:
  1. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2013. "Assessing International Efficiency," CEPR Discussion Papers 9424, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. M. Hadzi-Vaskov, 2008. "Does the nominal exchange rate explain the Backus-Smith puzzle? evidence from the Eurozone," Working Papers 07-32, Utrecht School of Economics.
  3. Michael B Devereux & Gregor W Smith & James Yetman, 2009. "Consumption and real exchange rates in professional forecasts," BIS Working Papers 295, Bank for International Settlements.
  4. Gianluca Benigno & Pierpaolo Benigno & Salvatore Nistic�, 2012. "Risk, Monetary Policy, and the Exchange Rate," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 247 - 309.
  5. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Francesca Viani, 2012. "Traded and nontraded goods prices, and international risk sharing: an empirical investigation," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1242, Banco de Espa�a.
  6. Aidan Corcoran, 2008. "International Financial Integration and Consumption Risk Sharing," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp241, IIIS.
  7. Michael B. Devereux & Viktoria Hnatkovska, 2011. "Consumption Risk-Sharing and the Real Exchange Rate: Why does the Nominal Exchange Rate Make Such a Difference?," NBER Working Papers 17288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Matthew Canzoneri & Robert Cumby & Behzad Diba, 2013. "Addressing International Empirical Puzzles: the Liquidity of Bonds," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 197-215, April.

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