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Economic Growth and Real Exchange Rate: An Overview of the Balassa-Samuelson Hypothesis in Asia

In: Changes in Exchange Rates in Rapidly Developing Countries: Theory, Practice, and Policy Issues (NBER-EASE volume 7)

  • Takatoshi Ito
  • Peter Isard
  • Steven Symansky

The paper tests the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis (rapid economic growth is accompanied by real exchange rate appreciation because of differential productivity growth between tradable and nontradable sectors) using data of the APEC economies. Japan, Korea, Taiwan and, to a lesser extent, Hong Kong and Singapore, were proved to follow the Balassa-Samuelson path. These countries follow a similar industrialization pattern, increasing the weight of high value-added exports. Although Hong Kong and Singapore grew fast, their real exchange rates appreciated only moderately. High productivity growth in service sectors might have been the reason for this. Other fast-growing ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia did not experience real appreciation. Closer examinations of various components of the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis revealed that key assumptions are not uniformly supported: There is no uniform pattern for the movement of nontradable prices relative to tradable prices; and tradable prices (measured by common currency) do not show the international arbitrage.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Takatoshi Ito & Anne O. Krueger, 1999. "Changes in Exchange Rates in Rapidly Developing Countries: Theory, Practice, and Policy Issues (NBER-EASE volume 7)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_99-1, July.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 8616.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8616
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521466004 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521460477 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Takatotshi Ito, 1996. "Japan and the Asian Economies: A 'Miracle' in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 205-272.
    4. De Gregorio, Jose & Giovannini, Alberto & Wolf, Holger C., 1994. "International evidence on tradables and nontradables inflation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1225-1244, June.
    5. Takatoshi Ito & Tamim Bayoumi & Peter Isard & Steven A. Symansky, 1996. "Exchange Rate Movements and Their Impact on Trade and Investment in the APEC Region," IMF Occasional Papers 145, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Alwyn Young, 1992. "A Tale of Two Cities: Factor Accumulation and Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 13-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jose De Gregorio & Holger C. Wolf, 1994. "Terms of Trade, Productivity, and the Real Exchange Rate," NBER Working Papers 4807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Marston, Richard C., 1990. "Systematic movements in real exchange rates in the G-5 : Evidence on the integration of internal and external markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 1023-1044, November.
    9. Asea, Patrick K & Mendoza, Enrique G, 1994. "The Balassa-Samuelson Model: A General-Equilibrium Appraisal," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 244-67, October.
    10. Patrick K. Asea, 1994. "The Balassa-Samuelson Model: A General Equilibrium Appraisal," UCLA Economics Working Papers 709, UCLA Department of Economics.
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