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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. Marianne Baxter & Mario J. Crucini, 1994. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," NBER Working Papers 4975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kollmann, R., 1992. "Consumption, Real Exchange Rates and the Structure of International Asset Markets," Cahiers de recherche 9232, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio, 2002. "Financial autarky and international business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 601-627, April.
  4. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B. & Johnsen, Thore, 1998. "Productivity growth, consumer confidence and the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1113-1140, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Vicente Tuesta & Jorge Selaive, 2004. "Net Foreing Assets and Imperfect Pass-through: The Consumption-Real Exchange Rate Anomaly," 2004 Meeting Papers 203, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Charles Engel, 1995. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 5394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1990. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," NBER Working Papers 3566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Backus, David K. & Smith, Gregor W., 1993. "Consumption and real exchange rates in dynamic economies with non-traded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3-4), pages 297-316, November.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Jaume Ventura, 2002. "The World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 659-694, May.
  11. Jorge Selaive ; Vicente Tuesta, 2004. "Net Foreign Assets And Imperfect Financial Integration: An Empirical Approach," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 90, Econometric Society.
  12. 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.
  13. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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