Is PPP sensitive to time-varying trade weights in constructing real effective exchange rates?
While the use of real effective exchange rates in stationarity tests of purchasing power parity (PPP) avoids the problems created using bilateral rates, these rates are often constructed using trade shares that are fixed at a single base year. This method fails to take into account the fact that trade shares can change drastically in parts of the world that are undergoing dramatic transformations. In this study, we apply linear as well as nonlinear stationarity tests to 52 currencies' real effective rates, which were constructed using time-varying weights. Incorporating a time trend, we are also able to assess whether breakdowns in PPP are due to productivity differentials. We find that while nonlinear tests provide more evidence of "productivity bias" than do linear tests, they do not provide much more evidence of PPP. A comparison to a previous study that used fixed-weight data shows that there is somewhat more evidence of productivity bias using the new dataset, especially in Eastern Europe and Asia. We can conclude that PPP and a key cause of its breakdown are somewhat sensitive to the use of time-varying weights in these stationarity tests.
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