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Accounting for Exchange Rate Variability in Present-Value Models When the Discount Factor is Near One

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  • Charles Engel
  • Kenneth D. West

Abstract

Nominal exchange rates in low-inflation advanced countries are nearly random walks. Engel and West (2003a) offer an explanation for this in the context of models in which the exchange rate is determined as the discounted sum of current and expected future fundamentals. Engel and West show that if the fundamentals are I(1), then as the discount factor approaches one, the exchange rate becomes indistinguishable from a random walk. An alternative explanation for the random-walk behavior of exchange rates is that there are some unobserved variables that drive exchange rates that follow near random walks. This paper takes the approach that both explanations are possible. We are able to measure how much of exchange-rate variation could be accounted for by the Engel-West explanation, despite the fact that we do not observe the information set of financial markets. We find that the observable fundamentals (money, income, prices, interest rates) may account for about 40 percent of the variance of changes in exchange rates under the assumption of discount factors near unity.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Engel & Kenneth D. West, 2004. "Accounting for Exchange Rate Variability in Present-Value Models When the Discount Factor is Near One," NBER Working Papers 10267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10267 Note: IFM AP
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles Engel & Kenneth D. West, 2005. "Exchange Rates and Fundamentals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 485-517, June.
    2. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Pascual, Antonio Garcia, 2005. "Empirical exchange rate models of the nineties: Are any fit to survive?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1150-1175, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Mark, Nelson C. & Sul, Donggyu, 2001. "Nominal exchange rates and monetary fundamentals: Evidence from a small post-Bretton woods panel," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 29-52, February.
    5. Diba, Behzad T, 1987. "A Critique of Variance Bounds Tests for Monetary Exchange Rate Models: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(1), pages 104-111, February.
    6. Engel, Charles & West, Kenneth D., 2006. "Taylor Rules and the Deutschmark: Dollar Real Exchange Rate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(5), pages 1175-1194, August.
    7. Chinn, Menzie D. & Meese, Richard A., 1995. "Banking on currency forecasts: How predictable is change in money?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 161-178, February.
    8. Mark, Nelson C, 1995. "Exchange Rates and Fundamentals: Evidence on Long-Horizon Predictability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 201-218, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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