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Is Real Exchange Rate Mean Reversion Caused By Arbitrage?

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  • Jose M. Campa
  • Holger C. Wolf

Abstract

The presence of purchasing power parity is often attributed to the exploitation of arbitrage opportunities in goods markets. We examine this presumption for a 1960-1996 monthly panel of bilateral exchange rates and trade for the G7 countries. The data exhibit strong mean reversion. However, despite allowing for substantial latitude in specification, we find very limited support for a simple arbitrage view. The deviations of real exchange rates and trade from trend are virtually uncorrelated. Large trade deviations neither trigger nor accelerate mean reversion. Large real exchange rate deviations do not lead to systematic changes in trade. Constricting the sample to eighteen-month episodes of notable mean reversion - large persistent depreciations starting from overvalued levels - does not reveal any systematic relation either. The timing of these episodes does point, however, to an alternative explanation of mean reversion: the majority of episodes occur during periods of nominal exchange rate regime instability, pointing towards exchange rate policy or speculation as the immediate cause of mean reversion. Both may, of course, reflect expectations of trade responses, opening an indirect role for incipient arbitrage in explaining mean reversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose M. Campa & Holger C. Wolf, 1997. "Is Real Exchange Rate Mean Reversion Caused By Arbitrage?," NBER Working Papers 6162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6162
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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Maier & Paul Cavelaars, 2003. "EMU enlargement and convergence of price levels: Lessons from the German reunification," Macroeconomics 0306016, EconWPA.
    2. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Fujii, Eiji, 2006. "The Chinese economies in global context: The integration process and its determinants," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 128-153, March.
    3. Giri, Rahul, 2012. "Local costs of distribution, international trade costs and micro evidence on the law of one price," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 82-100.
    4. Haskel, Jonathan & Wolf, Holger, 2001. " The Law of One Price--A Case Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 545-558, December.
    5. Chen, Natalie, 2004. "The behaviour of relative prices in the European Union: A sectoral analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1257-1286, December.
    6. De Carvalho, Anthony, 2002. "Wage Adjustment, Imperfect Competition and Real Exchange Rate Reversion: An Attempt to Unravel the PPP Puzzle," Discussion Papers 706, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    7. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie & Fujii, Eiji, 2001. "Market Structure and the Persistence of Sectoral Real Exchange Rates," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(2), pages 95-114, April.
    8. Guillaume Gaulier & Séverine Haller, 2003. "Les prix automobile dans l'Union Européenne : y a-t-il eu convergence depuis 1993 ?," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 157(1), pages 83-96.
    9. Akarim, Yasemin Deniz & Sevim, Serafettin, 2013. "The impact of mean reversion model on portfolio investment strategies: Empirical evidence from emerging markets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 453-459.
    10. Koedijk, Kees G. & Tims, Ben & van Dijk, Mathijs A., 2011. "Why panel tests of purchasing power parity should allow for heterogeneous mean reversion," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 246-267, February.
    11. Carlos P. Barros & Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Luis A. Gil-Alana, 2014. "Long Memory in Angolan Macroeconomic Series: Mean Reversion versus Explosive Behaviour," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 26(1), pages 59-73, March.
    12. Maier, Philipp & Cavelaars, Paul, 2004. "Convergence of price levels: lessons from the German reunification," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 467-481, September.
    13. Philipp Maier, 2004. "EMU enlargement, inflation and adjustment of tradable goods prices: What to expect?," DNB Working Papers 010, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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