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Vehicle Currency

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  • Michael B. Devereux
  • Shouyong Shi

Abstract

Historically, the world economy has been dominated by a single currency accepted in the exchange of goods and assets among countries. In recent decades, the U.S. dollar has played this role. The dollar acts as a “vehicle currency” in the sense that agents in nondollar economies will generally engage in currency trade indirectly using the U.S. dollar instead of using direct bilateral trade among their own currencies. A vehicle currency is desirable when there are transactions costs of exchange. This article constructs a dynamic general equilibrium model of a vehicle currency. We explore the nature of the efficiency gains arising from a vehicle currency and show how it depends on the total number of currencies in existence, the size of the vehicle currency economy, and the monetary policy followed by the vehicle currency’s government. We find that there can be significant welfare gains to a vehicle currency in a system of many independent currencies. But these gains are asymmetrically weighted toward the residents of the vehicle currency country. The survival of a vehicle currency places natural limits on the monetary policy of the vehicle currency country.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael B. Devereux & Shouyong Shi, 2013. "Vehicle Currency," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 97-133, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:54:y:2013:i:1:p:97-133
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2354.2012.00727.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Vehicle currency use in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-192, December.
    2. Menzie Chinn & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2007. "Will the Euro Eventually Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Reserve Currency?," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 283-338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gabriele Galati & Philip Wooldridge, 2009. "The euro as a reserve currency: a challenge to the pre-eminence of the US dollar?," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 1-23.
    4. Parker, Miles, 2016. "How exporters set prices: evidence from a large behavioural survey," Working Paper Series 1974, European Central Bank.
    5. Lucas Herrenbrueck, 2017. "An Open-Economy Model With Money, Endogenous Search, And Heterogeneous Firms," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1648-1670, October.
    6. Linda S. Goldberg & Cedric Tille, 2006. "The internationalization of the dollar and trade balance adjustment," Staff Reports 255, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Linda S. Goldberg & Cédric Tille, 2006. "The International Role of the Dollar and Trade Balance Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 12495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cova, Pietro & Pagano, Patrizio & Pisani, Massimiliano, 2016. "Foreign exchange reserve diversification and the “exorbitant privilege”: Global macroeconomic effects," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 82-101.
    9. Chung, Wanyu, 2016. "Imported inputs and invoicing currency choice: Theory and evidence from UK transaction data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 237-250.
    10. Goldberg, Linda & Tille, Cédric, 2013. "A bargaining theory of trade invoicing and pricing," Kiel Working Papers 1839, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    11. Canzoneri, Matthew & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad & López-Salido, David, 2013. "Key currency status: An exorbitant privilege and an extraordinary risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 371-393.
    12. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2016. "Global macroeconomic effects of exiting from unconventional monetary policy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1078, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    13. Mr. Prakash Kannan, 2007. "On The Welfare Benefits of an International Currency," IMF Working Papers 2007/049, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Jung, Kuk Mo & Pyun, Ju Hyun, 2016. "International reserves for emerging economies: A liquidity approach," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 230-257.
    15. Maria V. Sokolova, 2016. "Better More Than One: Portfolio Currency Pricing and Exchange Rate Hedging," IHEID Working Papers 03-2016, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    16. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2015. "Domestic and international macroeconomic effects of the Eurosystem expanded asset purchase programme," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1036, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    17. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2016. "Micro, macro, and strategic forces in international trade invoicing: Synthesis and novel patterns," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 173-187.
    18. repec:hrv:faseco:30780147 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Cao, Shutao & Dong, Wei & Tomlin, Ben, 2015. "Pricing-to-market, currency invoicing and exchange rate pass-through to producer prices," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 128-149.
    20. Zhang, Cathy, 2014. "An information-based theory of international currency," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 286-301.
    21. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2014. "Foreign exchange reserve diversification and the "exorbitant privilege"," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 964, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    22. Gita Gopinath, 2015. "The International Price System," NBER Working Papers 21646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Yang, Guangpu & Gu, Qingyang, 2016. "Effects of exchange rate variations on bilateral trade with a vehicle currency: Evidence from China and Singapore," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 50-73.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System

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