October 27, 2020
Article number: 20190024
This paper offers a systematic survey of recent research evaluating the impact of the level and volatility of the real exchange rate (RER) on economic growth. Existing empirical work finds a positive association between RER levels and economic growth, especially in developing countries. This relationship appears to be driven by cases of overvaluation hurting and undervaluation favoring growth. RER volatility, in turn, has a negative impact on growth. Together with the review of the literature, panel growth regressions with the 9.0 version of the Penn World Table database are carried out to evaluate previous findings. The paper also surveys the literature studying the mechanisms that explain the positive growth effect of the RER. One of them emphasizes that an undervalued RER reduces macroeconomic volatility, favoring capital accumulation and growth. Another one stresses that a competitive RER stimulates capital accumulation in modern tradable activities, facilitating structural change and economic development.