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New Evidence on the Effects of Exchange Rate Intervention


  • Martin Feldstein


The September 1985 decision of the G-5 countries to pursue coordinated intervention has been widely credited with the subsequent sharp decline of the dollar relative to other major currencies, On the surface, the dollar's decline appears as evidence that coordinated intervention can be an effective instrument of economic policy, contrary to most of the previous economic analysis of this issue. The evidence in the present paper shows that such a conclusion is unwarranted. The dollar's decline in the nine months after the G-5 agreement was generally no faster than it had been since the beginning of its decline in the spring of 1985. The only indication of discontinuity in the overall behavior of the dollar was a drop of about 4 percent that occurred immediately after the G-5 meeting and that has largely persisted. Although this evidence cannot be taken as a conclusive indication that coordinated intervention had no effect on the dollar’s rate of decline, it does show the inappropriateness of interpreting the dollar's decline after September 1985 as evidence that coordinated intervention was effective. The special case of the Japanese yen is more ambiguous. Unlike all of the other G-5 currencies, the yen did appreciate more rapidly after the €5-5 meeting than it did before. But the Japanese government was also unique in making a major shift in monetary policy immediately after the G-5 meeting to strengthen the yen and the yen was also the major currency that could be expected to appreciate most as a result of the massive and unexpected decline of the price of oil in the first half of 1986.

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  • Martin Feldstein, 1986. "New Evidence on the Effects of Exchange Rate Intervention," NBER Working Papers 2052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2052
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feldstein, Martin, 1986. "U.S. Budget Deficits and the European Economies: Resolving the Political Economy Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 342-346, May.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld, 1985. "Floating Exchange Rates: Experience and Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 369-464.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2015. "The Plaza Accord, 30 Years Later," Working Paper Series 15-056, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Martin Feldstein, 1993. "The Dollar and the Trade Deficit in the 1980s: A Personal View," NBER Working Papers 4325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Robert Andrew & John Broadbent, 1994. "Reserve Bank Operations in the Foreign Exchange Market: Effectiveness and Profitability," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9406, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Bordo, Michael D. & Humpage, Owen F. & Schwartz, Anna J., 2010. "U.S. foreign-exchange-market intervention during the Volcker-Greenspan era," Working Paper 1007, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld, 1990. "The Effectiveness of Foreign-Exchange Intervention: Recent Experience, 1985- 1988," NBER Chapters,in: International Policy Coordination and Exchange Rate Fluctuations, pages 197-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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