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.
This paper examines the impact of trade costs on real exchange rate volatility. We incorporate a multi-country Ricardian model of trade, based on the work of Eaton and Kortum (2002), into a macroeconomic model to show how bilateral real exchange rate volatility depends on relative technological differences and trade costs. These differences highlight a new channel, in which the similarity of a pair of countries' set of suppliers of traded goods affects bilateral exchange rate volatility. We then test the importance of this channel using a large panel of cross-country data over 1970-97, and find strong evidence supporting the channel.