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.
Contrary to the arguments of several scholars, we have failed to find either a conclusive theoretical case or clear empirical evidence of an effect, harmful or otherwise, of exchange rate variability (as measured by either short-term volatility or long-run misalignment) on overall levels of international trade. In this paper, after reviewing the theories and evidence on this issue, we go on to consider the impact of exchange rate variability on direct foreign investment. We summarize and amplify upon the scant theoretical literature of this issue, and proceed to test U.S. data for the presence of such an impact. We find none.