Fixed Exchange Rates and Trade
42 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2004 Last revised: 30 Mar 2012
Date Written: August 2004
A classic argument for a fixed exchange rate is its promotion of trade. Empirical support for this, however, is mixed. While one branch of research consistently shows a small negative effect of exchange rate volatility on trade, another, more recent, branch presents evidence of a large positive impact of currency unions on trade. This paper helps resolve this disconnect. Our results, which use a new data-based classification of fixed exchange rate regimes, show a large, significant effect of a fixed exchange rate on bilateral trade between a base country and a country that pegs to it. Furthermore, the web of fixed exchange rates created when countries link to a common base also promotes trade, but only when these countries are part of a wider system, as during the Bretton Woods period. These results suggest an economically relevant role for exchange rate regimes in trade determination since a significant amount of world trade is conducted between countries with fixed exchange rates.
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