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Investing in Foreign Currency is like Betting on your Intertemporal Marginal Rate of Substitution

Author

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  • Hanno Lustig
  • Adrien Verdelhan

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

Abstract

Investors earn positive excess returns on high interest rate foreign discount bonds, because these currencies appreciate on average. Lustig and Verdelhan (2005) show that investing in high interest rate foreign discount bonds exposes them to more aggregate consumption risk, while low interest rate foreign bonds provide a hedge. This paper provides a simple model that replicates these facts. Investing in foreign currency is like betting on the di®erence between your own intertemporal; marginal rate of substitution (IMRS) and your neighbor's IMRS. These bets are very risky if your neighbor's IMRS is not correlated with yours, but they provide a hedge when his IMRS is highly correlated and more volatile. If the foreign neighbors that face low interest rates also have more volatile and correlated IMRS, that accounts for the spread in excess returns in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2005. "Investing in Foreign Currency is like Betting on your Intertemporal Marginal Rate of Substitution," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-040, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2005-040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2009. "Temptation-Driven Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 937-971.
    2. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Costa, Carlos Eugênio da & Issler, João Victor & Matos, Paulo Rogério Faustino, 2013. "The forward and the equity-premium puzzles: a straightforward test of whether they are two symptoms of the same illness," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 738, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    2. Atanasov, Victoria & Nitschka, Thomas, 2014. "Currency excess returns and global downside market risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 268-285.
    3. Matos, Paulo Rogério Faustino & Costa, Carlos Eugênio da & Issler, João Victor, 2007. "The forward- and the equity-premium puzzles: two symptoms of the same illness?," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 649, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    4. da Costa, Carlos E. & Issler, João V. & Matos, Paulo F., 2015. "A Note On The Forward And The Equity Premium Puzzles: Two Symptoms Of The Same Illness?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 446-464, March.
    5. Grisse, Christian & Nitschka, Thomas, 2015. "On financial risk and the safe haven characteristics of Swiss franc exchange rates," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 153-164.
    6. A. Craig Burnside & Jeremy J. Graveline, 2012. "On the Asset Market View of Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 18646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2009. "Comment on "Carry Trades and Currency Crashes"," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 361-384 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Exchange Rates; Currency Risk.;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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