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The scapegoat theory of exchange rates: the first tests

  • Fratzscher, Marcel
  • Sarno, Lucio
  • Zinna, Gabriele

This paper provides an empirical test of the scapegoat theory of exchange rates (Bacchetta and van Wincoop 2004, 2011), as an attempt to evaluate its potential for explaining the poor empirical performance of traditional exchange rate models. This theory suggests that market participants may at times attach significantly more weight to individual economic fundamentals to rationalize the pricing of currencies, which are partly driven by unobservable shocks. Using novel survey data which directly measure foreign exchange scapegoats for 12 currencies and a decade of proprietary data on order flow, we find empirical evidence that strongly supports the empirical implications of the scapegoat theory of exchange rates, with the resulting models explaining a large fraction of the variation and directional changes in exchange rates. The findings have implications for exchange rate modelling, suggesting that a more accurate understanding of exchange rates requires taking into account the role of scapegoat factors and their time-varying nature. JEL Classification: F31, G10

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1418.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20121418
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  1. Lucio Sarno & Giorgio Valente, 2009. "Exchange Rates and Fundamentals: Footloose or Evolving Relationship?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 786-830, 06.
  2. Martin D.D. Evans & Richard K. Lyons, 1999. "Order Flow and Exchange Rate Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 7317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Love, Ryan & Payne, Richard, 2008. "Macroeconomic News, Order Flows, and Exchange Rates," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 467-488, June.
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  5. Todd E. Clark & Kenneth D. West, 2004. "Using out-of-sample mean squared prediction errors to test the Martingale difference hypothesis," Research Working Paper RWP 04-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  6. Rossi, Barbara, 2002. "Testing Long-horizon Predictive Ability with High Persistence, and the Meese-Rogoff Puzzle," Working Papers 02-10, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Schinasi, Garry J. & Swamy, P. A. V. B., 1989. "The out-of-sample forecasting performance of exchange rate models when coefficients are allowed to change," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 375-390, September.
  8. David F. Hendry & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 1999. "Improving on 'Data mining reconsidered' by K.D. Hoover and S.J. Perez," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 202-219.
  9. Mark, Nelson C, 1995. "Exchange Rates and Fundamentals: Evidence on Long-Horizon Predictability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 201-18, March.
  10. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop & Toni Beutler, 2010. "Can Parameter Instability Explain the Meese-Rogoff Puzzle?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2009, pages 125-173 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chib, Siddhartha & Greenberg, Edward, 1995. "Hierarchical analysis of SUR models with extensions to correlated serial errors and time-varying parameter models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 339-360, August.
  12. Barbara Rossi, 2005. "Are Exchange Rates Really Random Walks? Some Evidence Robust to Parameter Instability," Data 0503001, EconWPA.
  13. Charles Engel & Nelson C. Mark & Kenneth D. West, 2007. "Exchange Rate Models Are Not as Bad as You Think," NBER Working Papers 13318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Berger, David W. & Chaboud, Alain P. & Chernenko, Sergey V. & Howorka, Edward & Wright, Jonathan H., 2008. "Order flow and exchange rate dynamics in electronic brokerage system data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 93-109, May.
  15. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 2009. "On the Unstable Relationship between Exchange Rates and Macroeconomic Fundamentals," Working Papers 272009, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  16. Nelson C. Mark, 2009. "Changing Monetary Policy Rules, Learning, and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1047-1070, 09.
  17. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 2009. "Tacit On the Unstable Relationship between Exchange Rates and Macroeconomic Fundamentals," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 09.07, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  18. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 1999. "Data mining reconsidered: encompassing and the general-to-specific approach to specification search," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 167-191.
  19. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn, 2000. "Currency Traders and Exchange Rate Dynamics: A Survey of the U.S. Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 251, CESifo Group Munich.
  20. Lucio Sarno & Elvira Sojli, 2009. "The Feeble Link between Exchange Rates and Fundamentals: Can We Blame the Discount Factor?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2-3), pages 437-442, 03.
  21. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
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