Mr. Kenneth Rogoff, Mr. Kenneth Froot, and Mr. Michael Kim
This paper examines annual commodity price data from England and Holland over a span of seven centuries. Our data incorporates transaction prices on seven commodities: barley, butter, cheese, oats, peas, silver, and wheat, as well as pound/shilling nominal exchange rates going back, in some cases, to 1273. We find that the magnitude, volatility, and persistence of deviations from the law of one price have not declined by as much as one might expect. We find this despite lower transport costs, reduced trade protection, and fewer wars and plagues in the modern era. Our analysis is consistent with growing evidence that goods-market arbitrage remains highly imperfect, even today.
There has been considerable interest in recent years in the possibility of hardening the SDR, motivated by the desire for an international yardstick of monetary stability. This paper explores various ideas aimed at hardening the SDR in the light of the previous debate on the valuation of the SDR. The paper shows that the construction and implementation of a “hard” SDR that would preserve its purchasing power over goods and services is technically feasible and illustrates this by monthly computations covering the period from July 1974 to July 1993.
Drawing on the neoclassical theory of international trade, this study investigates the limits of efficient diversification in low-income commodity exporting countries, and the fundamental importance of relative factor endowments for determining the commodity composition of international trade flows is demonstrated under both certain and uncertain economic conditions. In recognition of the importance of international financial markets for risk spreading and allocating resources efficiently under uncertainty, open economic policies toward international trade in financial assets as well as goods are emphasized. [JEL F11, F15, F36]