A Scapegoat Model of Exchange Rate Fluctuations

21 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2004

See all articles by Philippe Bacchetta

Philippe Bacchetta

University of Lausanne; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Swiss Finance Institute

Eric van Wincoop

University of Virginia - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2004

Abstract

While empirical evidence finds only a weak relationship between nominal exchange rates and macroeconomic fundamentals, forex markets participants often attribute exchange rate movements to a macroeconomic variable. The variables that matter, however, appear to change over time and one variable is typically taken as a scapegoat. For example, the current dollar weakness appears to be caused almost exclusively by the large current account deficit, while its previous strength was explained mainly by growth differentials. In this Paper, we propose an explanation of this phenomenon in a simple monetary model of the exchange rate with noisy rational expectations, where investors have heterogeneous information on some structural parameter of the economy. In this context, there may be rational confusion about the true source of exchange rate fluctuations, so that if an unobservable variable affects the exchange rate, investors may attribute this movement to some current macroeconomic fundamental. We show that this effect applies only to variables with large imbalances. The model thus implies that the impact of macroeconomic variables on the exchange rate changes over time.

Keywords: Heterogenous information, model uncertainty

JEL Classification: E00, F10, G10

Suggested Citation

Bacchetta, Philippe and van Wincoop, Eric, A Scapegoat Model of Exchange Rate Fluctuations (February 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=515953

Philippe Bacchetta (Contact Author)

University of Lausanne ( email )

Faculty of Business and Economics
Internef 523
1015 Lausanne
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.hec.unil.ch/pbacchetta/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Swiss Finance Institute

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Switzerland

Eric Van Wincoop

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

Rouss Hall 114
P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States
804-924-3997 (Phone)
804-982-2904 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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