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

  • Michael B. Devereux
  • Charles Engel

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, the elasticity of substitution between home and foreign goods, and the amount of home bias in production. 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12215.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Devereux, Michael B. and Charles Engel. “Expenditure Switching vs. Real Exchange Rate Stabilization: Competing Objectives for Exchange-Rate Policy.” Journal of Monetary Economics 54 (2007): 2346-2374.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12215
Note: IFM
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  10. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Working Papers 96-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  11. Obstfeld, Maurice, 2002. "Exchange Rates and Adjustment: Perspectives from the New Open- Economy Macroeconomics," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 20(S1), pages 23-46, December.
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  13. 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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  17. 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.
  18. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1999. "New Directions for Stochastic Open Economy Models," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt5pf7g8sh, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  19. 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.).
  20. 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.
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  22. Obstfeld, Maurice & Taylor, Alan M., 1997. "Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 1672, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Michael Devereux & Charles Engel & Cedric Tille, 1999. "Exchange-Rate Pass-Through and the Welfare Effects of the Euro," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0034, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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  27. 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.
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