The exchange rate at the center of development economics

Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira

Estudos Avançados, 26 (75), 2012: 7-28.


This paper presents the main ideas of structuralist development macroeconomics as they were in 2012. In this paper I finally defined the relation between the exchange rate and the investment rate (and so, the growth rate). Investment depends on the exchange rate because as the theory says that it tends do become overvalued in the long-term (for several years) within the exchange rate cycle, companies will take this overvalued currency as reference in their investment decision and will refrain from investing. Its focus is on the exchange rate that is positioned for the first time in the core of development economics. Economic theory usually views the exchange rate as a short term problem to be discussed in open macroeconomics. Structuralist development macroeconomics argues that there is in developing countries a tendency to the cyclical overvaluation of the exchange rate caused by the lack of neutralization of the Dutch disease and by excessive capital inflows. In consequence it views the exchange rate as chronically overvalued, and, for that reason, a major obstacle to economic growth. In the development process, the exchange rate has the role of light switch that connects or disconnects the national business enterprises utilizing technology in the world state of the art from world markets.


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