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The Backus-Smith Puzzle: The Role of Expectations

Efficient risk-sharing dictates a positive relationship between the real exchange rate and relative consumption across countries: consumption should be relatively high where consumption is relatively cheap. However, contrary to the positive relationship predicted by most models, the empirical correlation between bilateral real exchange rates and relative consumptions is typically negative (see Backus and Smith, 1993). In this paper I extend a standard two-country, two-good international business cycle model with internationally incomplete financial markets to incorporate public signals about future innovations to total factor productivity. In this environment, a positive signal increases the relative present value of domestic lifetime income, implying that current consumption can increase by more than current output. This increase in demand in turn generates an appreciation in the real exchange rate, suggesting a potential resolution to the Backus-Smith puzzle. When the economy is calibrated to the United States versus the rest of the industrialized world, numerical simulations deliver a correlation between the exchange rate and relative consumption that is similar to that observed empirically.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 395.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:395
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  1. Kollmann, Robert, 1995. "Consumption, real exchange rates and the structure of international asset markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 191-211, April.
  2. Jorge Selaive & Vicente Tuesta, 2003. "Net foreign assets and imperfect pass-through: the consumption real exchange rate anomaly," International Finance Discussion Papers 764, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Batchelor, Roy & Dua, Pami, 1992. "Survey Expectations in the Time Series Consumption Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 598-606, November.
  4. Baxter, M. & Crucini, M., 1991. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," RCER Working Papers 316, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
  6. Ravn, Morten O, 2001. "Consumption Dynamics and Real Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 2940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-85, March.
  8. Jorge Selaive ; Vicente Tuesta, 2004. "Net Foreign Assets And Imperfect Financial Integration: An Empirical Approach," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 90, Econometric Society.
  9. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 96-02, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Andrew Scott, 1993. "Consumer Confidence and Rational Expectations: Are Agents Beliefs Consistent with the Theory?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0119, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Jean-Pierre DANTHINE & John B. DONALDSON & Thore JOHNSEN, 1997. "Productivity Growth, Consumer Confidence and the Business Cycle," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9711, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  12. Cole, Harold L. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Commodity trade and international risk sharing : How much do financial markets matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 3-24, August.
  13. David K. Backus & Gregor W. Smith, 1993. "Consumption and Real Exchange Rates in Dynamic Economies with Non-Traded Goods," Working Papers 1252, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 1999. "Financial Autarky and International Business Cycles," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 320, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 30 Apr 2000.
  15. Acemoglu, Daron & Ventura, Jaume, 2001. "The World Income Distribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2973, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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