Long Swings in the Exchange Rate: Are they in the Data and Do Markets Know It?

Charles Engel, James D. Hamilton

NBER Working Paper No. 3165
Issued in November 1989
NBER Program(s):   ITI   IFM

The value of the dollar appears to move in one direction for long periods of time. We develop a new statistical model of exchange rate dynamics as a sequence of stochastic, segmented time trends. The paper implements new techniques for parameter estimation and hypothesis testing for this framework. We reject the null hypothesis that exchange rates follow a random walk in favor of our model of long swings. Our model also generates better forecasts than a random walk. We conclude that persistent movement in the value of the dollar is a fact that calls for greater attention in the theory of exchange rate behavior. The model is a natural framework for assessing the importance of the "peso problem" for the dollar. It allows for the expectation of future exchange rates to be influenced by the probability of a change in regime. We nonetheless reject uncovered interest parity. The forward premium appears frequently to put too high a probability on a change in regime.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3165

Published: "Long Swings in the Dollar: Are they in the Data and Do Markets Know It?" American Economic Review, Volume 80, September 1990, 689-713

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