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Rethinking What Survey Data has to Say about the Role of Risk and Irrationality in Currency Markets

Author

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  • Josh Stillwagon

    () (Department of Economics, Trinity College)

Abstract

A number of studies have used survey data on traders' exchange rate forecasts to examine the role of risk and non-REH forecasting in accounting for excess returns in currency markets. This work re-examines those results using an alternative estimation technique, the Cointegrated VAR, which allows for better examination of non-stationarity in a multivariate framework. The results demonstrate the importance of focusing on the persistence of deviations from any found relationships. Consistent with some later studies, clear evidence of a time-varying risk premium is found, and REH is rejected for all three exchange rate samples examined (BP/USD, DM/USD, and JY/USD). The results strongly draw into question though the interpretation that this represents obvious irrationality. The relationship between the forecast error and interest rate differential is found to be non-stationary at very high significance levels, implying that the correlations are spurious and unstable over time, and individuals are not, in fact, mis-forecasting in a fixed manner relative to interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Josh Stillwagon, 2013. "Rethinking What Survey Data has to Say about the Role of Risk and Irrationality in Currency Markets," Working Papers 1314, Trinity College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tri:wpaper:1314
    as

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    File URL: http://internet2.trincoll.edu/repec/WorkingPapers2013/WP13-14.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fred G M C Nieuwland & Willem F C Verschoor & Christian C P Wolff, 1990. "EMS Exchange Rates," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0002, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
    2. Kenneth A. Froot & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1989. "Forward Discount Bias: Is it an Exchange Risk Premium?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(1), pages 139-161.
    3. Engel, Charles, 1996. "The forward discount anomaly and the risk premium: A survey of recent evidence," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 123-192, June.
    4. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "Understanding the Forward Premium Puzzle: A Microstructure Approach," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 127-154, July.
    5. Cavaglia, Stefano & Verschoor, Willem F. C. & Wolff, Christian C. P., 1993. "Further evidence on exchange rate expectations," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 78-98, February.
    6. Craig Burnside & Bing Han & David Hirshleifer & Tracy Yue Wang, 2011. "Investor Overconfidence and the Forward Premium Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 523-558.
    7. Dominguez, Kathryn M., 1986. "Are foreign exchange forecasts rational? : New evidence from survey data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 277-281.
    8. MacDonald, Ronald & Torrance, T S, 1988. "On Risk, Rationality and Excessive Speculation in the Deutschmark-U.S. Dollar Exchange Market: Some Evidence Using Survey Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 50(2), pages 107-123, May.
    9. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
    10. Chinn, Menzie & Frankel, Jeffrey, 1994. "Patterns in Exchange Rate Forecasts for Twenty-five Currencies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(4), pages 759-770, November.
    11. Verschoor, Willem F. C. & Wolff, Christian C. P., 2001. "Scandinavian forward discount bias risk premia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 65-72, October.
    12. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Tornell, Aaron, 2004. "Exchange rate puzzles and distorted beliefs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 303-333, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Excess returns puzzle; survey data; risk premium; non-stationarity; irrationality;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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