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Productivity, the Terms of Trade, and the Real Exchange Rate: The Balassa-Samuelson Hypothesis Revisited

  • Ehsan U. Choudhri
  • Lawrence L. Schembri

The paper examines how the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis is affected by a modern variation of the standard model that allows product differentiation (within the traded and nontraded goods sectors) with the number of firms determined exogenously or endogenously. The hypothesis is found to be fragile in the modified framework. Small variations in the elasticity of substitution between home and foreign traded goods (within the range of estimates suggested in the literature), for example, can make the effect of a traded-goods productivity improvement on the real exchange rate negative or positive, as well as small or large. This result provides a potential explanation of the mixed empirical results that have been obtained on the relationship between productivity and the real exchange rate.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 09-22.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:09-22
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  1. Hertel, Thomas & David Hummels & Maros Ivanic & Roman Keeney, 2003. "How Confident Can We Be in CGE-Based Assessments of Free Trade Agreements?," GTAP Working Papers 1324, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  2. Ehsan U. Choudhri & Mohsin S. Khan, 2005. "Real Exchange Rates in Developing Countries: Are Balassa-Samuelson Effects Present?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(3), pages 2.
  3. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca & Leduc, Sylvain, 2006. "Productivity, External Balance and Exchange Rates: Evidence on the Transmission Mechanism among G7 Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5853, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Luca Antonio Ricci & Jaewoo Lee & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "Real Exchange Rates and Fundamentals; A Cross-Country Perspective," IMF Working Papers 08/13, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Fabio Ghironi & Marc Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 451, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Alan M. Taylor & Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Productivity, Tradability, and the Long-Run Price Puzzle," Working Papers 511, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  7. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  8. Benigno, Gianluca & Christoph Thoenissen, 2002. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates and Supply Side Performance," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 19, Royal Economic Society.
  9. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad Diba, 1996. "Relative Labor Productivity and the Real Exchange Rate in the Long Run: Evidence for a Panel of OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 5676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  11. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2005. "International risk-sharing and the transmission of productivity shocks," International Finance Discussion Papers 826, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Thomas Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2005. "A Bayesian Look at New Open Economy Macroeconomics," Economics Working Paper Archive 521, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  13. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Working Papers 96-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  14. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Martin, Philippe & Pesenti, Paolo, 2008. "Varieties and the Transfer Problem: the Extensive Margin of Current Account Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Bergin, Paul R., 2006. "How well can the New Open Economy Macroeconomics explain the exchange rate and current account?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 675-701, August.
  16. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Martin, Philippe & Pesenti, Paolo, 2007. "Productivity, terms of trade and the `home market effect'," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 99-127, September.
  17. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
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