IFDP 1988-338
The Forward Exchange Rate Bias: A New Explanation

Ross Levine


Although the literature has devoted prodigious resources to investigating the risk premium explanation of the systematic time-varying discrepancies between forward and corresponding future spot exchange rates, empirical verification of the risk premium hypothesis has proven elusive. This paper tests an alternative explanation of the forward bias: the anticipated real exchange rate hypothesis. This hypothesis states that except for a constant risk premium, the predictable, time ­varying wedge between forward and expected future spot exchange rates is fully explained by the anticipated rate of change in the real exchange rate. The data do not reject this hypothesis. This suggests that the literature's almost singular concern with the risk premium explanation of the forward bias should be amended to include the effects of anticipated real exchange rate movements.

IFDP 1988-337
Adequacy of International Transactions and Position Data for Policy Coordination

Lois Stekler


This paper examines the adequacy of data on current account positions and international indebtedness as indicators of the need for policy adjustments and coordination. Doubts about the adequacy of these data have been raised by the growth of the global current account discrepancy and the statistical discrepancy in the U.S. international transactions accounts. The paper includes a brief review of the conclusions of the IMF working party on the world current account discrepancy and a detailed examination of the data on U.S. international transactions and net investment position. Both investigations support the Conclusion that large shifts in reported data on current accounts and investment positions are likely to reflect real changes.

However, even if data were completely accurate, a given current account or investment position may not clearly indicate the magnitude of necessary policy changes because of lags in the adjustment process or underlying trends. This point is illustrated by the tendency of U.S. net investment income to grow as a result of the continued expansion of both claims and liabilities combined with a higher average rate of return on claims. This underlying tendency is likely to counteract, in part, the negative impact on future net investment income of growing U.S. net indebtedness to foreigners.

IFDP 1988-336
Nominal Interest Rate Pegging Under Alternative Expectations Hypotheses

Joseph E. Gagnon and Dale W. Henderson


Nominal interest rate pegging leads to instability in an IS-LM model with a vertical long-run Phillips curve and backward-looking inflation expectations. However, it does not lead to instability in several large multicountry econometric models, primarily because these models have nonvertical long-run Phillips curves. Nominal interest rate pegging leads to price level and output indeterminacy in a model with staggered contracts and rational expectations. However, when a class of money supply rules with interest rate smoothing is introduced, and interest rate pegging is viewed as the limit of interest rate smoothing, the price level and output are determinate.

IFDP 1988-335
The Dynamics of Uncertainty or the Uncertainty of Dynamics: Stochastic J-Curves

Jaime Marquez


This paper characterizes the statistical distribution of the response of the U.S. trade account to a dollar depreciation. To accomplish this task, the paper builds and estimates an econometric model of U.S. bilateral trade. Given an exchange-rate shock, this distribution is generated empirically by stochastically simulating this model using random drawings for both innovations and trade elasticities. The paper finds that the distribution of trade-account responses is not stationary, that its variance is directly related to the size of the exchange-rate shock, that the dominant source of uncertainty lies with imports' price elasticities, and that the dispersion of these responses is more pronounced in the short run than in the long run. Based on these properties, the analysis applies Chebychev's inequality to the sample of trade-account responses and finds that hysteresis in price elasticities has a low probability of accounting for the persistence of the U.S. trade deficit.

These findings have two practical implications. First, forecasts of trade-account responses to exchange-rate shocks should include the associated confidence intervals. Uncertainty in these responses is potentially large and omitting the corresponding confidence intervals is analogous to omitting standard errors of regression estimates. Second, deriving confidence intervals needs to recognize that parameter estimates are random variables and that they contribute, quite significantly in this application, to the width of these intervals.

IFDP 1988-334
Devaluation, Exchange Controls, and Black Markets for Foreign Exchange in Developing Countries


This paper considers how exchange controls, black markets, and forward-looking expectations condition the impact of exchange rate devaluations in developing countries. A model incorporating these features is developed to analyze the response of key external balance indicators to anticipated devaluations. The model is driven by the movements of black market exchange rates in perfect foresight equilibrium, which in turn force changes in export under-invoicing and official trade statistics. The predicted movements in all measurable variables, both before and after devaluation, closely mirror those historically associated with devaluation episodes. The analysis is then extended to the case of 'devaluation cycles' to examine the paths of the black market rate and official trade statistics in the face of persistent inflation which over-values the real exchange rate and motivates periodic devaluations. Statistical analysis of a multi-devaluation data set strongly supports some of the most important predictions of the model: black market exchange rates typically depreciate in response to official devaluation, and all else equal, increases in the black market rate reduce official measures of dollar value exports.

IFDP 1988-333
International Banking Facilities

Sydney J. Key and Henry S. Terrell


The Federal Reserve Board permitted banking offices located in the United States to establish International Banking Facilities (IBFs) beginning in December 1981. The purpose was to allow these banking offices to conduct a deposit and loan business with foreign residents, including foreign banks, without being subject to reserve requirements or to the interest rate ceilings then in effect. IBFs are also exempt from the insurance coverage and assessments imposed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In addition, a number of states have encouraged banking institutions to establish IBFs by granting favorable tax treatment under state or local law for IBF operations.

This paper summarizes the history of the IBF proposal and discusses Federal Reserve Board regulations for IBFs and the treatment of IBFs under state and local tax law. The paper analyzes IBF activities and the use of IBFs in comparison with domestic offices and with foreign branches. The growth of IBFs is evaluated in relation to activities in other international banking centers. The paper concludes that IBFs have not turned out to be the dramatic innovation that some had predicted and that IBFs simply provide another center for booking transactions with foreign residents in a regulatory environment broadly similar to that of the Euromarket. In particular, IBFs appear to be used for a large proportion of transactions with foreign residents that were, or would otherwise have been, booked at Caribbean branches of U.S. banks. To date, the operation of IBFs has not presented a problem either for the conduct of domestic monetary policy or for bank supervision.

IFDP 1988-332
Panic, Liquidity and the Lender of Last Resort: A Strategic Analysis

R. Glen Donaldson


This paper develops a model in which panics are caused by the strategic behavior of agents who temporarily monopolize the supply of privately controlled cash reserves. The decision to exercise this "monopoly power" results in localized "corners" on the money market and hence an abrupt alteration in the rate of exchange between cash and non-monetary assets. This sudden appearance of a premium on liquidity produces the dramatic increase in interest rates, decrease in security prices and wave of "contagious" bank runs which are characteristic of panics. Since the nonzero probability of a panic's occurrence reduces the expected rate of return on bank deposits, individuals respond to the threat of this outcome by hoarding otherwise productive resources. As this has the effect of reducing investment­-and therefore output, consumption and government tax revenue--deposit insurance and an institutionalized of lender of last resort (which prevents panics by ensuring that the supply of legal tender is sufficiently elastic to guarantee competitive behavior among private holders of cash reserves) emerge endogenously as the result of utility maximizing behavior.

IFDP 1988-331
Real Interest Rates During the Disinflation Process in Developing Countries

Steven B. Kamin and David F. Spigelman


This paper addresses a phenomenon often noted in association with programs aimed at stabilizing high rates of inflation: a rise in the ex post real interest rate following implementation of the disinflation strategy. Such increases have been observed in connection with the stopping of European hyperinflations in the 1920s, as well as during the more recent experiences of disinflation in Argentina and Israel. To better understand this behavior, we develop a very general model of interest rate determination in a small open economy with two goods--traded and non-traded--and three assets--money, domestic bonds, and foreign bonds. We show that in partial portfolio equilibrium, a reduction in the fiscal deficit leads to a fall in inflation exceeding the decline in nominal interest rates, so the real interest rate rises; this effect derives from the increase in money demand resulting from the disinflation. In partial goods-market equilibrium, however, a reduction in the fiscal deficit reduces goods demands and lowers the real interest rate. In consequence, the general equilibrium response of the real interest rate to a disinflation program based on fiscal contraction is shown to be indeterminate.

The framework described above is used to examine the response of real interest rates to Argentina's disinflation in 1985. We show that the reduction in the fiscal deficit, as well as the government's shift away from money-financing, should have increased real interest rates substantially. However, the imposition of the Austral Plan appears to have exerted an independent effect in reducing interest rates, so that the impact of the program on the real rate of interest was largely neutralized.

IFDP 1988-330
International Comparisons of Labor Costs in Manufacturing

Peter Hooper and Kathryn A. Larin


This paper presents a comparative study of the level of unit labor costs in the manufacturing sectors of several countries. The paper begins by surveying earlier estimates of relative productivity and unit labor cost levels and evaluating the various methodologies that have been used in previous studies. Empirical estimates of the levels of foreign unit labor costs in dollars are derived based on labor compensation translated into dollars at nominal exchange rates and labor productivity translated into dollars at purchasing power parity exchange rates. These estimates are compared with results obtained in earlier studies. The results show that the level of unit labor costs in the United States has fluctuated significantly in recent years, predominantly with fluctuations in the nominal exchange rate. As of early 1988, unit labor costs in the United States had dropped well below the average level of other industrialized countries but were significantly above the level in a representative newly industrialized country, Korea.

IFDP 1988-329
Interactions Between Domestic and Foreign Investment

Guy V.G. Stevens and Robert E. Lipsey


This paper studies both the domestic and foreign fixed investment expenditures of a sample of U. S. multinational firms. In addition to explaining empirically each type of investment, an important goal is to determine whether there are significant interactions between expenditures in the different locations.

Two types of interaction--one, financial, and the other, production-based--are explored theoretically and empirically. The financial interaction is the result of a model which assumes a risk of bankruptcy and its associated costs; under these circumstances, the firm faces an increasing cost of capital as a function of its debt/equity ratio. Domestic and foreign investment will be interdependent, since, in competing for finance, each affects the cost of capital in the other location. Production interactions can arise when, because of start-up costs or other factors that produce nonlinear cost functions, it may become, profitable to shift production from the home to the foreign location.

The hypotheses are tested on a unique sample of micro-economic data covering the domestic and foreign operations of seven multinational firms for a period of 16 to 20 years. In general the firm-level investment functions fit reasonably well for both domestic and foreign expenditures. An interdependence between domestic and foreign investment was confirmed frequently through the finance side, but only once via production.

IFDP 1988-328
The Timing of Consumer Arrivals in Edgeworth's Duopoly Model

Marc Dudey


In his classic Papers relating to Political Economy (1897), Francis Edgeworth demonstrated that when duopolists have limited productive capacity, there may be no Nash equilibrium in prices. One feature of Edgeworth's model is that consumers are assumed to meet with the duopolists at the same time.

This paper analyzes a version of the Edgeworth model in which consumers arrive sequentially instead of simultaneously. This departure from Edgeworth's framework should seem reasonable since there are few markets besides auctions in which buyers all meet with sellers at the same time.

The point of the analysis is to show that when sellers engage in quantity constrained price competition, the timing of consumer arrivals may greatly affect the nature of equilibrium. It turns out that the existence of Nash equilibrium in prices may be restored. It also turns out that the duopolists may be able to maximize joint profits!

IFDP 1988-327
Competition By Choice

Marc Dudey


This paper relates firm location choice and consumer search. Firms that cluster together attract consumers by facilitating price comparison, but clustering increases the intensity of local competition. I construct a simple model which shows that firms may choose head-on competition by locating together. In special cases, this can be the unique equilibrium outcome. I also use the model to show that price setting firms may earn more in equilibrium than quantity setting firms.

IFDP 1988-326
The Determinants of the Growth of Multinational Banking Organizations: 1972-86

Robert S. Dohner and Henry S. Terrell


The paper develops an empirical model to explain growth of total assets of a sample of the world's largest banks. The model was estimated over a period in which U.S. banks' assets grew less rapidly than the assets of large banks headquartered in other industrial countries. The model provides an estimate of the banks' allocation between home currency and foreign currency assets which allows an estimate of the impact of exchange rate exchanges on bank asset growth.

The results of the model suggest that no single economic variable explains the faster growth of non-U.S. banks. Changes in real exchange rates were estimated to have had a significant impact on bank asset growth through their impact on the dollar value of banks' home-currency assets. This impact was greater over a shorter time period when exchange rate movements tended to be larger. Over the longer run other factors, such as faster home-country economic growth, an expanding trade and foreign investment sector, and the ability of large banks to retain their share of domestic intermediation, tended to be relatively more important.

The model tested whether banks headquartered in particular countries tended to respond in a similar manner to economic variables and could be aggregated into a single behavioral equation. Aggregation was generally indicated for non-U.S. banks and was rejected for American banks. The model overpredicted asset growth for large U.S. and Canadian banks after 1982, suggesting that various factors including pressure by bank regulators to increase capital ratios and asset quality questions may have affected their asset growth sooner than banks headquartered in other countries.

IFDP 1988-325
Econometric Modeling of Consumers' Expenditure in Venezuela

Julia Campos and Neil R. Ericsson


Starting from a theoretical model with optimizing economic agents, we develop a highly parsimonious econometric model of consumers' expenditure on non-durables and services in Venezuela for 1970-85. Disposable income, liquidity, and inflation determine expenditure in an economically sensible fashion. The empirical model is robust and has constant, well-determined parameter estimates. In specifying it, econometric methodology plays a fundamental role, and we address issues of empirical model design and evaluation, cointegration, exogeneity, policy analysis, and encompassing. Using the last concept, a large class of expectations and VAR models is found to be incompatible with the data. In particular, Hall's (1978) hypothesis (derived from the life cycle-permanent income hypothesis) that expenditure is a random walk and only predictable from its own past is firmly rejected. The empirical model provides a clear interpretation for why that is so.

IFDP 1988-324
Income and Price Elasticities of Foreign Trade Flows: Econometric Estimation and Analysis of the U.S. Trade Deficit

Jaime Marquez


This paper builds, estimates. and simulates a world trade model to provide a quantitative analysis of the behavior of the U.S. trade deficit. A key feature of this model is that international trade imbalances add up to zero. The analysis estimates income and price elasticities for bilateral import equations, tests for the properties of the error term, for parameter constancy, and for the choice of dynamic specification. The paper also re­examines the structural asymmetries in elasticities noted by Houthakker and Magee and tests whether the Marshall-Lerner condition holds. The reliability of the model as a whole is assessed with residual-based stochastic simulations. The paper finds that changes in relative prices account for the bulk of the deterioration of the U.S. trade account, that reliance on either foreign or domestic growth to eliminate the U.S. external imbalances entails significant changes in real income, and that the speed with which U.S. net exports respond to exchange rate changes is sensitive to minor changes in own­price elasticities.

IFDP 1988-323
Money, Interest, and Capital in a Cash-In-Advance Economy

Wilbur John Coleman II


A cash-in-advance constraint on consumption is incorporated into a standard model of consumption and capital accumulation. Monetary policy consists of lump-sum cash transfers. Methods are developed for establishing the existence and uniqueness of an equilibrium. and for explicitly constructing this equilibrium. The model economy's dependence on monetary policy is explored.

IFDP 1988-322
The Simultaneous Equations Model with Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity: The SEM-GARCH Model

Richard Harmon


In this paper I generalize the standard simultaneous equations model by allowing the innovations of the structural equations to exhibit Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity (GARCH). I refer to this new specification as the SEM-GARCH model. I develop two estimation strategies: LIM-GARCH, a limited information estimator, and FIM-GARCH, a full information estimator. I show that these estimators are consistent and asymptotically normal. Following Weiss (1986) I show that when the errors in the SEM-GARCH process are incorrectly assumed to be conditionally normal the likelihood function is still maximized at the true parameters, given certain regularity conditions. This results in the asymptotic variance-covariance matrix being more complex than the usual inverse of the information matrix.

IFDP 1988-321
Adjustment Costs and International Trade Dynamics

Joseph E. Gagnon


This paper develops a model of trader behavior that is characterized by quadra is adjustment costs, imperfect competition, and rational expectations. The model is fitted to data on aggregate trade flows between the United States and three of its largest trading partners. Tests against alternative specifications confirm the importance of imperfect competition and adjustment costs. The hypothesis of rational expectations cannot be rejected. The estimated price elasticities of trade flows are generally in the range reported by previous researchers, but the activity elasticities are significantly higher.

IFDP 1988-320
The Capital Flight "Problem"

David B. Gordon and Ross Levine


This paper isolates the common themes and policy recommendations found in the capital flight literature, and evaluates their statistical, conceptual, and empirical foundations. We find that there is no basis for presuming a stable link between any measure of capital flight and a nation's growth potential or ability to meet external obligations. Thus, although popular measures of capital flight are occasionally indicative of underlying economic and political problems, "capital flight" is not generally useful as a policy target or reliable as a signal of when to intensify or mitigate efforts for policy reforms. Moreover, policies proposed to reduce capital flight and repatriate flight capital may even stymie investment, slow growth, shrink the tax-base, and the lower the country's debt financing capacity.

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Last Update: March 30, 2021