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Traded Goods Consumption Smoothing and the Random Walk Behavior of the Real Exchange Rate

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  • Kenneth Rogoff

Abstract

Conventional explanations of the near random walk behavior of real exchange rates rely on near random walk behavior in the underlying fundamentals (e.g.. tastes and technology). The present paper offers an alternative rationale, based on a fixed-factor neoclassical model with traded and non-traded goods. The basic idea is that with open capital markets, agents can smooth their consumption of tradeables in the face of transitory traded goods productivity shocks. Agents cannot smooth non-traded goods productivity shocks, but if these are relatively small (as is often argued to be the case) then traded goods consumption smoothing will lead to smoothing of the intra-temporal price of traded and non-traded goods. The (near) random walk implications of the model for the real exchange rate are in stark contrast to the empirical predictions of the classic Balassa-Samuelson model. The paper applies the model to the yen/dollar exchange rate over the floating rate period.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Rogoff, 1992. "Traded Goods Consumption Smoothing and the Random Walk Behavior of the Real Exchange Rate," NBER Working Papers 4119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4119
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    1. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1983. "Real Interest Rates, Home Goods, and Optimal External Borrowing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 141-153, February.
    2. Frenkel, Jacob A & Razin, Assaf, 1986. "Fiscal Policies in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 564-594, June.
    3. Campbell, John Y., 1994. "Inspecting the mechanism: An analytical approach to the stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 463-506, June.
    4. Ahmed, Shaghil, 1987. "Government spending, the balance of trade and the terms of trade in British history," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 195-220, September.
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