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A Darwinian Perspective on "Exchange Rate Undervaluation"

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  • Du, Qingyuang
  • Wei, Shang-Jin

Abstract

Though the real exchange rate is a key price for most economies, our understanding of its determinants is still incomplete. This paper studies the implications of status competition in the marriage market for the real exchange rate. In theory, a rise in the sex ratio (increasing relative surplus of men) can generate a decline in the real exchange rate (RER) through both a savings channel and an effective labor supply channel. The effects can be quantitatively large if the biological desire for a marriage partner is strong. Empirically, we show that within China, those regions with a faster increase in the sex ratio also exhibit a faster decline in the RER (the relative price of nontradables). Furthermore, across countries, those with a high sex ratio tend to have a low real exchange rate, beyond what can be explained by the Balassa-Samuelson effect, financial underdevelopment, dependence ratio, and exchange rate regime classifications. As an application, the estimation suggests that these structural factors can account for the Chinese exchange rate almost completely.

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  • Du, Qingyuang & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2012. "A Darwinian Perspective on "Exchange Rate Undervaluation"," CEPR Discussion Papers 8872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8872
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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis Tao Yang, 2012. "Aggregate Savings and External Imbalances in China," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 125-146, Fall.
    2. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang & Yin Liu, 2012. "Status Competition and Housing Prices," NBER Working Papers 18000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    5. Virginia Di Nino & Barry Eichengreen & Massimo Sbracia, 2011. "Real Exchange Rates, Trade, and Growth: Italy 1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 10, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2016. "Contractions in Chinese Fertility and Savings: Long-run Domestic and Global Implications," RBA Annual Conference Volume (Discontinued), in: Iris Day & John Simon (ed.),Structural Change in China: Implications for Australia and the World, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    7. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "Gender 'Rebalancing' in China: A Global-Level Analysis," CAMA Working Papers 2012-46, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    8. Wei, Shang-Jin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Liu, Yin, 2017. "Home ownership as status competition: Some theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 169-186.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    currency manipulation; equilibrium real exchange rate; surplus men;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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