IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

International Risk-Sharing and the Exchange Rate: Re-evaluating the Case for Flexible Exchange Rates

  • Devereux, Michael B

A classic argument for flexible exchange rates is that the exchange rate plays a ‘shock-absorber' role in an open economy hit by country specific shocks. This Paper presents a sharp counterexample to this argument within a very simple open economy model. Countries are subject to unpredictable shocks to world demand for their goods. Efficient adjustment is prevented, both by sticky nominal wages and by the absence of a market for hedging consumption risk across countries. A flexible exchange rate policy, by stabilizing domestic prices, fully stabilizes output and replicates the flexible wage outcome, acting perfectly as a ‘shock absorber’. Despite this, a policy that fixes the exchange rate may be welfare superior, even though fixed exchange rates cause GDP to fluctuate away from the flexible wage outcome. Moreover, an optimal monetary rule in this environment would always dampen exchange rate movements, and may even be a fixed exchange rate.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2900.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2900
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo, 2005. "International dimensions of optimal monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 281-305, March.
  2. Charles Engel, 1995. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 5394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld and Kenneth Rogoff., 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C95-048, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Tommaso Monacelli, 2000. "Relinquishing Monetary Policy Independence," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 483, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti, 1997. "Welfare and Macroeconomic Interdependence," NBER Working Papers 6307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2003. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: Price Setting and Exchange-Rate Flexibility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 765-783.
  7. Eric Parrado & Andres Velasco, 2002. "Optimal Interest Rate Policy in a Small Open Economy," NBER Working Papers 8721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Woodford Michael, 2002. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-53, February.
  9. Paul Krugman, 1999. "Balance Sheets, the Transfer Problem, and Financial Crises," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 459-472, November.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld., 2001. "International Macroeconomics: Beyond the Mundell-Fleming Model," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C01-121, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. Lane, Philip R., 2001. "The new open economy macroeconomics: a survey," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 235-266, August.
  12. Bayoumi, Tamim & Eichengreen, Barry, 1998. "Exchange rate volatility and intervention: implications of the theory of optimum currency areas," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 191-209, August.
  13. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-75, August.
  14. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1991. "Tastes and technology in a two-country model of the business cycle: explaining international co-movements," Working Paper 9019, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  15. Barro, Robert & Alesina, Alberto, 2002. "Currency Unions," Scholarly Articles 4551795, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Murray, John, 1999. "Why Canada Needs a Flexible Exchange Rate," Working Papers 99-12, Bank of Canada.
  17. 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.
  18. Eric van Wincoop & Philippe Bacchetta, 2000. "Does Exchange-Rate Stability Increase Trade and Welfare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1093-1109, December.
  19. Cedric Tille, 2000. ""Beggar-thy-neighbor" or "beggar-thyself"? the income effect of exchange rate fluctuations," Staff Reports 112, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  20. Fukuda, Shin-ichi & Hoshi, Takeo & Ito, Takatoshi & Rose, Andrew, 2006. "International Finance," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 455-458, December.
  21. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro, 2001. "Dollarization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 381-385, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2900. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.