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Is Real Exchange Rate Mean Reversion Caused By Arbitrage?

  • Jose M. Campa
  • Holger C. Wolf

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6162.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6162.

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Date of creation: Sep 1997
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6162
Note: IFM
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  1. Dumas, Bernard, 1992. "Dynamic Equilibrium and the Real Exchange Rate in a Spatially Separated World," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 153-80.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld and Alan M. Taylor., 1997. "Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C97-088, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Isard, Peter, 1977. "How Far Can We Push the "Law of One Price"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 942-48, December.
  4. David C. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Convergence to the Law of One Price Without Trade Barriers or Currency Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 5654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Charles Engel & Michael K. Hendrickson & John H. Rogers, 1997. "Intra-national, intra-continental, and intra-planetary PPP," International Finance Discussion Papers 589, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Benninga, Simon & Protopapadakis, Aris, 1988. "The equilibrium pricing of exchange rates and assets when trade takes time," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 129-149, June.
  7. Ken Froot & Kenneth Rogoff, . "Perspectives on PPP and Long-Run Real Exchange Rates," Working Paper 32027, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  8. Mark P. Taylor, 2003. "Purchasing Power Parity," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 436-452, 08.
  9. Shang-Jin Wei & David C. Parsley, 1995. "Purchasing Power Disparity During the Floating Rate Period: Exchange Rate Volatility, Trade Barriers and Other Culprits," NBER Working Papers 5032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  11. Robert E. Cumby, 1996. "Forecasting Exchange Rates and Relative Prices with the Hamburger Standard: Is What You Want What You Get With McParity?," NBER Working Papers 5675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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