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

  • Charles Engel
  • Kenneth D. West

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10267.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10267.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Publication status: published as Engel, Charles and Kenneth D. West. "Accounting For Exchange-Rate Variability In Present-Value Models When Discount Factor Is Nearly 1," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(2,May), 119-125.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10267
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  1. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie & Garcia Pascual, Antonio, 2003. "Empirical Exchange Rate Models of the Nineties: Are Any Fit to Survive?," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5fc508pt, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Nelson Mark & Donggyu Sul, 1998. "Norminal Exchange Rates and Monetary Fundamentals: Evidence from a Small Post-Bretton Woods Panel," Working Papers 98-19, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Charles Engel & Kenneth D. West, 2004. "Taylor Rules and the Deutschmark-Dollar Real Exchange Rate," NBER Working Papers 10995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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 104-11, February.
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