The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The relationship between international payments and the real exchange rate—the “transfer problem”—is a classic question in international economics. We use new data on countries’ net external positions together with real exchange rate data to shed light on this question. We present a model yielding testable implications on the long-run co-movements of real exchange rates, external positions, relative GDP and terms of trade, and cross-country and time-series evidence on the subject. Countries with net external liabilities are found to have more depreciated real exchange rates, with the main channel of transmission working through the relative price of nontraded goods.