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Assessing the effects of exchange rate depreciation on the US economy: Evidence from a factor-augmented VAR model

Wei Sun (Seidman College of Business Economics, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)
Gil Kim (Department of Economics, California State University, Fresno, California, USA)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 12 November 2018




The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of exchange rate shock on the broad spectrum of the US economy using a factor-augmented VAR model (FAVAR).


The authors developed a two-factor FAVAR model and estimated it with the single-step Bayesian likelihood approach using the Gibbs sampling technique. The two factors represented, respectively, the economic activity and price pressures. The exchange rate shock was identified with the Choleski decomposition method for VARs. The authors used the data of 117 time series for the period from 1973:02 to 2007:12. Impulse responses and variance decompositions were computed as the main results.


The authors found that exchange rate shock has pervasive effects on the US economy as the following: depreciation does not appear to help reduce the US trade deficit as both import and export rise with the depreciation shock; in the short run, depreciation appears expansionary as industrial production, manufacturing and employment all increase within a year; in the medium run, depreciation appears inflationary, as consumer price, producer price, import price and export price all increase; and in the medium run, depreciation appears contractionary as personal consumption, consumer confidence, stock price and housing start tend to fall.

Research limitations/implications

Some caveats remain: first, our simple model symmetrically estimates depreciation shock and appreciation shock and, hence, cannot draw inferences for how exchange rate appreciation and depreciation may affect the US economy asymmetrically. Second, the simple model used did not distinguish the different possible sources of exchange rate depreciation shock, the knowledge of which may lead to richer policy implications and is the direction of research for the future.


This research contributes to the literature of whether exchange rate is expansionary or contractionary to the US economy using the FAVAR model. This is the first comprehensive study in the literature studying the pervasive effects of the exchange rate on the broad spectrum of the US economy in one integrated model.



The authors would like to thank Kathleen Pedres of Grand Valley State University for the excellent help with data, and also for the constructive comments from anonymous conference discussants and reviewers on the earlier version of this paper. All remaining errors are ours. The authors of this paper have not made their research data set openly available. Any enquiries regarding the data set can be directed to the corresponding author.


Sun, W. and Kim, G. (2018), "Assessing the effects of exchange rate depreciation on the US economy: Evidence from a factor-augmented VAR model", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 45 No. 6, pp. 1242-1271.



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