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Expenditure Switching vs. Real Exchange Rate Stabilization: Competing Objectives for Exchange Rate Policy

  • Michael B. Devereux

    (University of British Columbia and CEPR, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research)

  • Charles Engel

    (University of Wisconsin and NBER)

This paper develops a view of exchange rate policy as a trade-off between the desire to smooth fluctuations in real exchange rates so as to reduce distortions in consumption allocations, and the need to allow flexibility in the nominal exchange rate so as to facilitate terms of trade adjustment. We show that optimal nominal exchange rate volatility will reflect these competing objectives. The key determinants of how much the exchange rate should respond to shocks will depend on the extent and source of price stickiness, as well as the elasticity of substitution between home and foreign goods. Quantitatively, we find the optimal exchange rate volatility should be significantly less than would be inferred based solely on terms of trade considerations. Moreover, we find that the relationship between price stickiness and optimal exchange rate volatility may be non-monotonic.

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Paper provided by Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research in its series Working Papers with number 082005.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hkm:wpaper:082005
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  1. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2002. "Why Are Rates of Inflation So Low After Large Devaluations?," NBER Working Papers 8748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti, 2001. "International Dimensions of Optimal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Parsley Shang-Jin Wei, 2002. "Currency Arrangements And Goods Market Integration: A Price Based Approach," International Finance 0211004, EconWPA.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld, 2002. "Exchange Rates and Adjustment: Perspectives from the New Open Economy Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 9118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael Devereux & Charles Engel & Cedric Tille, 1999. "Exchange-Rate Pass-Through and the Welfare Effects of the Euro," Working Papers 0034, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  6. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1993. "On Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061546, August.
  7. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Can sticky price models generate volatile and persistent real exchange rates?," Staff Report 277, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 2000. "Deviations from purchasing power parity: causes and welfare costs," International Finance Discussion Papers 666, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2002. "Macroeconomics of international price discrimination," International Finance Discussion Papers 744, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti, 1997. "Welfare and Macroeconomic Interdependence," NBER Working Papers 6307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sergio Rebelo & Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum, 2004. "Large Devaluations and the Real Exchange Rate," 2004 Meeting Papers 137, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. David C. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Explaining the Border Effect: The Role of Exchange Rate Variability, Shipping Costs, and Geography," NBER Working Papers 7836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1994. "How Wide is the Border?," NBER Working Papers 4829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1999. "New Directions for Stochastic Open Economy Models," NBER Working Papers 7313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Neves, Joao C & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2001. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Rogers, J.H. & Jenkins, M.A., 1993. "Haircuts or Hysteresis? Sources of Movements in Real Exchange Rates," Papers 4-93-6, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  17. Mussa, Michael, 1986. "Nominal exchange rate regimes and the behavior of real exchange rates: Evidence and implications," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 117-214, January.
  18. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "Interest-Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Working Papers 6618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
  20. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Obstfeld, Maurice & Taylor, Alan M., 1997. "Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 441-479, December.
  22. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2003. "Why is Inflation so Low after Large Devaluations?," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0308, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  23. Charles Engel, 1992. "Real Exchange Rates and Relative Prices: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 4231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Obstfeld, Maurice, 2001. "International Macroeconomics: Beyond the Mundell-Fleming Model," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt6796n8s0, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  25. 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.
  26. Robert King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "What Should the Monetary Authority Do When Prices Are Sticky?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 349-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. 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.
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