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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exchange rates, monetary policy, and the international transmission mechanism Betts, Caroline M.


The three chapters of this thesis address two questions. First, how are real and nominal exchange rates between different national currencies determined? Second, how does this determination influ- ence the international transmission of macroeconomic fluctuations and, especially, monetary policy disturbances? Chapter 1 comprises an empirical evaluation of long-run purchasing power parity as a theory of equilibrium nominal exchange rate determination for the post-Bretton Woods data. Structural time series methods are used to identify bivariate moving average representations of nominal exchange rates and relative goods prices and to test whether these empirical representations are consistent with the implications of purchasing power parity. Long-run purchasing power parity can be un ambiguously rejected for the G- 7 countries. There are permanent deviations from parity which account for almost all of the variance of real exchange rates, and which are driven by permanent disturbances to nominal rates which are never reflected in relative goods prices. Chapter 2 presents an empirical evaluation of the hypothesis that the global Depression of the 1930’s was attributable to international transmission of (idiosyncratic) U.S. monetary policy actions through the International Gold Exchange Standard - fixed exchange rate - regime. Specifically, the analysis evaluates whether the interwar output collapse in Canada was caused by transmitted U.S. monetary policy disturbances. A multivariate structural time series representation of the Cana dian macroeconomy is estimated which is consistent with the dynamic and long-run equilibrium properties of a Mundell- Fleming small open economy model and in which U.S. data represent the ‘rest of the world’. The empirical results show that U.S. monetary disturbances play a negligible role for both Canadian and U.S. output movements in the 1930’s. Permanent common real shocks to outputs can account for the onset, depth and duration of the Depression in both economies. There is little evidence to support a Gold-Standard transmitted global output collapse through the transmission mechanisms usually associated with purchasing power parity theories of real exchange rate determination. Chapter 3 develops an alternative theory of real and nominal exchange rate determination and of the international transmision mechanism which can account for many stylized facts regarding the empirical behaviour of real and nominal exchange rates that long-run purchasing power parity fails to explain. In a two-country, two-currency overlapping generations model, the role of optimal portfolio choices between internationally traded assets is emphasized - rather than goods market trade - as the source of currency demands. These demands, and supplied of assets generated by domestic monetary policies, determine both real and nominal exchange rates. Here, monetary policy changes can induce permanent international and intra-national reallocations through real exchange rate and real interest rate adjustments. This transmission mechanism differs markedly from that implied by purchasing power parity.

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