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U.S. Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations and Relative Price Fluctuations

  • Caroline M. Betts
  • Timothy J. Kehoe

This paper studies the relation between the United States’ bilateral real exchange rate and the associated bilateral relative price of nontraded goods for five of its most important trade relationships. Traditional theory attributes fluctuations in real exchange rates to changes in the relative price of nontraded goods. We find that this relation depends crucially on the choice of price series used to measure relative prices and on the choice of trade partner. The relation is stronger when we measure relative prices using producer prices rather than consumer prices. The relation is stronger the more important is the trade relationship between the United States and a trade partner. Even in cases where there is a strong relation between the real exchange rate and the relative price of nontraded goods, however, a large fraction of real exchange rate fluctuations is due to deviations from the law of one price for traded goods.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR) in its series IEPR Working Papers with number 05.16.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:05-16
Contact details of provider: Phone: (213) 740-3521
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Web page: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/economics/IEPR/

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  1. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  2. Jean Imbs & Haroon Mumtaz & Morten O. Ravn & Helene Rey, 2003. "PPP Strikes Back: Aggregation and the Real Exchange Rate," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0307, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  3. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1990. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," NBER Working Papers 3566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J & McGrattan, Ellen R, 2002. "Can Sticky Price Models Generate Volatile and Persistent Real Exchange Rates?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 533-63, July.
  5. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1994. "How Wide is the Border?," NBER Working Papers 4829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rogers, John H. & Jenkins, Michael, 1995. "Haircuts or hysteresis? Sources of movements in real exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 339-360, May.
  7. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2002. "Why Are Rates of Inflation So Low After Large Devaluations?," NBER Working Papers 8748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Beverly J. Lapham, 1990. "A Dynamic, General Equilibrium Analysis of Deviations From the Laws of One Price," Working Papers 793, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 96-02, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  10. Mario Crucini & Chris Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, . "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," GSIA Working Papers 227, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  11. Rebelo, S. & Vegh, C.A., 1995. "Real Effects of Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization: An Analysis of Competing Theories," RCER Working Papers 405, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. Charles Engel, 1992. "Real Exchange Rates and Relative Prices: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 4231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Caroline M. Betts & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2008. "Real Exchange Rate Movements and the Relative Price of Non-traded Goods," NBER Working Papers 14437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Maurice Obstfeld, 2001. "International Macroeconomics: Beyond the Mundell-Fleming Model," NBER Working Papers 8369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Kravis, Irving B. & Lipsey, Robert E., 1978. "Price behavior in the light of balance of payments theories," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 193-246, May.
  16. de Cordoba, Gonzalo Fernandez & Kehoe, Timothy J., 2000. "Capital flows and real exchange rate fluctuations following Spain's entry into the European Community," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 49-78, June.
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