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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 Staff 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. Paul R. Bergin, 2004. "How Well Can the New Open Economy Macroeconomics Explain the Exchange Rate and Current Account?," NBER Working Papers 10356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Canzoneri, Matthew B. & Cumby, Robert E. & Diba, Behzad, 1999. "Relative labor productivity and the real exchange rate in the long run: evidence for a panel of OECD countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 245-266, April.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Fabio Ghironi & Marc Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 451, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2008. "International Risk Sharing and the Transmission of Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 443-473.
  7. Mohsin S. Khan & Ehsan U. Choudhri, 2004. "Real Exchange Rates In Developing Countries; Are Balassa-Samuelson Effects Present?," IMF Working Papers 04/188, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Giancarlo Corsetti & Philippe Martin & Paolo Pesenti, 2008. "Varieties and the Transfer Problem: The Extensive Margin of Current Account Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 13795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Working Papers 96-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  10. Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick & Alan M. Taylor, 2004. "Productivity, Tradability, and the Long-Run Price Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 10569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gianluca Benigno & Christoph Thoenissen, 2003. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates and Supply-Side Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C103-C124, March.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Luca A Ricci & Jaewoo Lee & Gian M Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "Real Exchange Rates and Fundamentals; A Cross-Country Perspective," IMF Working Papers 08/13, International Monetary Fund.
  15. 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.
  16. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  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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