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Insignificant and Inconsequential Hysteresis: The Case of the U.S. Bilateral Trade


  • David C. Parsley
  • Shang-Jin Wei


This paper casts doubt on the validity of the hysteresis hypothesis as an explanation of the persistent U.S. trade deficits in the 1980s. We propose two tests to investigate two different implications of the hypothesis. The first implication is that cumulative changes in exchange rates, in addition to current exchange rate levels, are important determinants of trade flows. The second implication is that foreign exporting firms' perceptions of exchange rate volatility will affect their decisions to enter or exit the market. We find little support for either aspect of the hysteresis hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 1994. "Insignificant and Inconsequential Hysteresis: The Case of the U.S. Bilateral Trade," NBER Working Papers 4738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4738
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rose, Andrew K. & Yellen, Janet L., 1989. "Is there a J-curve?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 53-68, July.
    2. Shang-Jin Wei, 1991. "Anticipations of foreign exchange volatility and bid-ask spreads," International Finance Discussion Papers 409, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Richard Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 1989. "Persistent Trade Effects of Large Exchange Rate Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 635-654.
    4. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-785, September.
    5. Parsley, David C & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1993. "Insignificant and Inconsequential Hysteresis: The Case of U.S. Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 606-613, November.
    6. Paul R. Krugman & Richard E. Baldwin, 1987. "The Persistence of the U.S. Trade Deficit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 1-56.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange


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