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Devaluing to Prosperity: Misaligned Currencies and Their Growth Consequences


  • Surjit S. Bhalla

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


Experts have long questioned the effect of currency undervaluation on overall GDP growth. They have viewed the underlying basis for this policy--intervention in currency markets to keep the price of the home currency cheap--as doomed to failure on both theoretical and empirical grounds. Moreover, the view has been that overvalued currencies hurt economic growth but undervalued currencies cannot help in growth acceleration. A parallel belief has been that the real exchange rate--that is, a country's competitive ranking--cannot be affected by merely changing the nominal exchange rate. This view is grounded in the belief, and expectation, that inflation follows any devaluation of currency. Hence, the conclusion that the real exchange rate cannot be affected by policy. However, given China's remarkable performance in recent decades, this traditional view is being reexamined. China devalued its currency by large amounts in the 1980s and early 1990s; instead of inflation, it achieved high growth. Today, there is near-universal demand for China to significantly revalue its currency. This book examines the veracity of various propositions relating to currency misalignments, and their effect on various items of policy interest. The author subjects more than a century of global exchange rate management and growth outcomes to rigorous empirical analysis and demonstrates convincingly that a country can systematically devalue and yet prosper. The analysis helps in interpreting several phenomena, especially for the last three decades, which have witnessed high economic growth in developing countries, a widening of global imbalances, and a sharp increase in reserve accumulation, particularly among high-growth Asian economies. The book shows that these events are strongly linked via a consistent policy of currency undervaluation in Asian economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Surjit S. Bhalla, 2012. "Devaluing to Prosperity: Misaligned Currencies and Their Growth Consequences," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6239.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:6239

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    Cited by:

    1. Hernán Herrera-Echeverri & Jerry Haar & Alexander Arrieta Jiménez & Manuel Araújo Zapata, 2015. "Devaluation, Competitiveness And New Business Formation In Emerging Countries," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(03), pages 1-22, September.
    2. Popov, Vladimir & Chowdhury, Anis, 2015. "What Uzbekistan tells us about industrial policy that we did not know?," MPRA Paper 67013, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Darío Debowicz & Wajiha Saeed, 2014. "Exchange rate misalignment and economic development: the case of Pakistan," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 21014, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    4. William R. Cline, 2014. "Estimates of Fundamental Equilibrium Exchange Rates, May 2014," Policy Briefs PB14-16, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    5. Oblath, Gábor & Halpern, László, 2014. "A gazdasági stagnálás "színe" és fonákja. Mivel jár együtt az exporttöbblet és az adósságcsökkenés?
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    6. Popov, Vladimir, 2013. "Economic Miracle of Post-Soviet Space: Why Uzbekistan Managed to Achieve What No Other Post-Soviet State Achieved," MPRA Paper 48723, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Gabor Oblath & Eva Palocz & David Popper & Akos Valentinyi, 2015. "Economic convergence and structural change in the new member states of the European Union Convergence in volumes, prices and the share of services, with implications for wage convergence: an expenditu," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1544, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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