Model Misspecification, Learning and the Exchange Rate Disconnect Puzzle

Vivien Lewis 1 , 1  and Agnieszka Markiewicz 2 , 2
  • 1 Ghent University and National Bank of Belgium, vivienjlewis@gmail.com
  • 2 Erasmus University Rotterdam, markiewicz@few.eur.nl

Rational expectations models fail to explain the disconnect between the exchange rate and macroeconomic fundamentals. In line with survey evidence on the behaviour of foreign exchange traders, we introduce model misspecification and learning into a standard monetary model. Agents use simple forecasting rules based on a restricted information set. They learn about the parameters and performance of different models and can switch between forecasting rules. We compute the implied US-UK post-Bretton Woods exchange rate and show that the excess volatility of the exchange rate return can be reproduced with low values of the learning gain. Both assumptions, misspecification and learning, are necessary to generate this result. However, the implied correlations with the fundamentals are higher than in the data. Including more lags in the model tilts the balance of our findings slightly towards rational expectations and away from the learning hypothesis.

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The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics publishes significant research and scholarship in theoretical and applied macroeconomics. The range of topics includes business cycle research, economic growth, and monetary economics, as well as topics drawn from the substantial areas of overlap between macroeconomics and international economics, labor economics, finance, development economics, political economy, public economics, econometric theory.

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