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Interpreting Tests of Forward Discount Bias Using Survey Data on Exchange Rate Expectations

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  • Kenneth A. Froot
  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

Abstract

Survey data on exchange rate expectations are used to divide the forward discount into expected depreciation and a risk premium. Our starting point is the common test oh whether the forward discount is an unbiased predictor of future changes in the spot rate. We use the surveys to decompose the bias into a protion attributable to the risk premium and a portion attributable to systematic prediction errors. The survey data suggest that our findings of both unconditional and conditional bias are overwhelmingly due to systematic expectational errors. Regressions of future changes in the spot rate against the forward discount do not yield insights into the sign, size or variability of the risk premium as is usually thought.We test directly the hypothesis of perfect substitutability, and find support for it on that changes in the forward discount reflect, one for one , changes in expected depreciation. The "random-walk" view that expected depreciation is zero is thus rejected; expected depreciation is even significantly more variable than the risk premium. In fact, investors would do better if they always reduced fractionally the magnitude of expected depreciation. This is the same result that Bilson and many others have found with forward market data, but now it cannot be attributed to a risk premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth A. Froot & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1986. "Interpreting Tests of Forward Discount Bias Using Survey Data on Exchange Rate Expectations," NBER Working Papers 1963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1963
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    2. Hodrick, Robert J. & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1984. "An investigation of risk and return in forward foreign exchange," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 5-29, April.
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    4. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-853, October.
    5. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1986. "The Dollar as Speculative Bubble: A Tale of Fundamentalists and Chartists," NBER Working Papers 1854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Krasker, William S., 1980. "The `peso problem' in testing the efficiency of forward exchange markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 269-276, April.
    7. Longworth, David, 1981. "Testing the Efficiency of the Canadian-U.S. Exchange Market under the Assumption of no Risk Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 43-49, March.
    8. Huang, Roger D., 1984. "Some alternative tests of forward exchange rates as predictors of future spot rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 153-167, August.
    9. Bilson, John F O, 1981. "The "Speculative Efficiency" Hypothesis," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 435-451, July.
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    11. Ralph W. Tryon, 1979. "Testing for rational expectations in foreign exchange markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 139, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Gregory, Allan W. & McCurdy, Thomas H., 1984. "Testing the unbiasedness hypothesis in the forward foreign exchange market: A specification analysis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 357-368, December.
    13. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beine, Michel & Benassy-Quere, Agnes & MacDonald, Ronald, 2007. "The impact of central bank intervention on exchange-rate forecast heterogeneity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 38-63, March.
    2. Paul De Grauwe & Marianna Grimaldi, 2004. "Bubbles and Crashes in a Behavioural Finance Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 1194, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. MacDonald, Ronald, 2000. "Is the foreign exchange market 'risky'? Some new survey-based results," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-14, January.
    4. Douglas, Justin J. & Bartley, Scott W., 1997. "Risk premia in Australian interest rates," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Issue 2), pages 1-35.
    5. Rajesh Chakrabarti & Barry Scholnick, 2002. "Exchange rate expectations and foreign direct investment flows," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(1), pages 1-21, March.
    6. Jason Childs & Stuart Mestelman, 2006. "Rate-of-return Parity in Experimental Asset Markets," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 331-347, August.
    7. MacDonald, Ronald, 2000. " Expectations Formation and Risk in Three Financial Markets: Surveying What the Surveys Say," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 69-100, February.
    8. Imad Moosa & Abul Shamsuddin, 2004. "Expectation formation mechanisms, profitability of foreign exchange trading and exchange rate volatility," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(14), pages 1599-1606.
    9. Kaufmann, Daniel & Mehrez, Gil & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2005. "Predicting currency fluctuations and crises: Do resident firms have an informational advantage?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1012-1029, October.
    10. Waheed, Muhammad, 2009. "Forward rate unbiased hypothesis, risk premium and exchange rate expectations: estimates on Pakistan Rupee-US Dollar," MPRA Paper 33167, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2010.

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