Lawrence Schembri was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in February 2013. In this capacity, he is one of two deputy governors responsible for overseeing the Bank’s analysis and activities in promoting a stable and efficient financial system. As a member of the Bank’s Governing Council, he shares responsibility for decisions with respect to monetary policy and financial system stability, and for setting the strategic direction of the Bank.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Mr. Schembri received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto in 1979, an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1980, and a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. After completing his PhD, Mr. Schembri became an assistant professor and, later, associate professor of economics at Carleton University until 2001.
Mr. Schembri joined the Bank in 1997 as a visiting Research Adviser in the International Department. In 2001, he was appointed Research Director in the same department, where his main roles were to provide leadership for the department’s research activities, as well as to undertake research and contribute to the management of the department. His published research has focused on exchange rate and monetary theory and policy in open economies, the international monetary system and financial stability. Mr. Schembri became Chief of the International Economic Analysis Department in 2005. In 2010, he was appointed Adviser to the Governor, with responsibilities focused on financial stability and on coordinating the Bank’s contribution to the Financial Stability Board (FSB). He also chaired the Editorial Board of the Bank of Canada Review.
The current international monetary system is in need of reform. This article first provides an assessment of the existing system, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses. It notes that the system has not facilitated the symmetric and timely adjustment in the real exchange rate necessary to accommodate the integration of China and other emerging-market economies into the global economy. This lack of adjustment contributed to the global financial crisis and recession and, because it is forestalling the required rotation of global demand, is hindering the global recovery. The article then discusses reform of the system that would see all systemically important countries and currency areas adopt market-based and convertible floating exchange rates supported by appropriate monetary, fiscal and financial sector policy frameworks. It also examines the roles of the G-20 countries and major international financial institutions in promoting and facilitating the system’s transition.Topics: Exchange rate regimes; International topics
In emerging-market economies, real exchange rate adjustment is critical for maintaining a sustainable current account position and thereby for helping to reduce macroeconomic and financial instability.Topics: Development economics; Exchange rate regimes; International topics
The paper examines how the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis is affected by a modern variation of the standard model that allows product differentiation (within the traded and nontraded goods sectors) with the number of firms determined exogenously or endogenously.Topics: Exchange rates; Productivity
The authors assess the potential impact of recently approved reforms to International Monetary Fund (IMF) surveillance; namely, the "2007 Decision on Bilateral Surveillance Over Members' Policies" and the "Statement of Surveillance Priorities" (SSP). They conclude that these complementary reforms have the potential to create a comprehensive and coherent framework for IMF surveillance. If implemented properly, [...]Topics: International topics
Canada played an important role in the postwar establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet it was also the first major member to challenge the orthodoxy of the BrettonWoods par value system by abandoning it in 1950 in favour of a floating, market-determined exchange rate.Topics: Exchange rate regimes; Exchange rates; Monetary policy framework
Schembri studies Canada's post-World War II experience in introducing a floating exchange rate, including its effects on the Canadian economy and its influence on the development of macroeconomic theory. In particular, Canada's flexible exchange rate and high degree of capital mobility with the United States provided an unprecedented experiment for macroeconomic policy. The successes and difficulties encountered by Canadian authorities in managing monetary and fiscal policy under this regime drew the interest of researchers at the International Monetary Fund and elsewhere and had a significant impact on the development of the Mundell-Fleming model, the path-breaking innovation in modern open-economy macroeconomics.Topics: Central bank research; Exchange rate regimes; Monetary policy framework
This paper revisits Canada's pioneering experience with floating exchange rate over the period 1950–1962. It examines whether the floating rate was the best option for Canada in the 1950s by developing and estimating a New Keynesian small open economy model of the Canadian economy.Topics: Economic models; Exchange rates
In this paper, we empirically investigate whether multilateral adjustment to large U.S. external imbalances can help explain movements in the bilateral exchange rates of three commodity currencies – the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand (ACNZ) dollars.Topics: Econometric and statistical methods; Exchange rates
Recent evidence indicates that the intensity of economic exchange within and across borders is significantly different: linkages are much tighter within, than among, nation-states. These findings, however, do not necessarily imply that borders and separate national currencies represent significant barriers to trade that should be removed, since the evidence is also consistent with the alternative hypothesis, that domestic exchange is more efficient because domestic producers are better able to satisfy the requirements of local consumers, owing to common tastes and institutions and the existence of local information and social networks. Focusing primarily on trade linkages within and between Canada and the United States, the authors review the evidence on the extent to which national borders lessen the intensity of international economic linkages, primarily trade in goods and services, and the effects on domestic welfare. They also examine the evidence on the impact of common currencies on trade and welfare. They determine that, since the empirical models employed to date in this research cannot distinguish between alternative explanations of the evidence, it is not yet possible to draw firm conclusions for policy-making.Topics: Exchange rate regimes; International topics; Monetary policy framework
The Bank of Canada's 2004 research conference examined the real and financial linkages between the Canadian economy and the economies in the rest of the world. Although Canada has profited enormously from its openness to international trade in goods, services, and financial assets, many of the most significant shocks to the Canadian economy in recent years have come from abroad. For these reasons, understanding the extent and nature of the external linkages, their implications for the Canadian economy, and the process by which the Canadian economy adjusts to external shocks is of critical importance both for monetary policy and for monitoring the financial system. This article describes the purpose of the conference—to deepen economists' understanding of these important issues—and provides highlights of the papers presented in each of the five sessions, as well as summaries of the keynote lecture and the discussion of the policy panel.Topics: Balance of payments and components; Exchange rates; International topics
This article examines the concept of purchasing-power parity (PPP) and its implications for the equilibrium value of the Canadian exchange rate. PPP has two main applications, as a theory of exchange rate determination and as a means to compare living standards across countries. Concerning exchange rate determination, PPP is mainly useful as a reminder that monetary policy has no long-run impact on the real exchange rate, since the exchange rate can deviate persistently from its PPP value in response to real shocks.
To compare living standards across countries, PPP exchange rates constructed by comparing the prices of national consumption baskets are used to translate per capita national incomes into a common currency. These rates are useful because they offset differences in national price levels to obtain comparable measures of purchasing power, but they are not an accurate measure of the equilibrium value of the exchange rate.
The authors conclude that the current deviation of the Canadian exchange rate from the PPP rate does not imply that the exchange rate is undervalued, but that this deviation reflects the impact of persistent real factors, in particular, lower commodity prices.Topics: Exchange rates
Since 1995, acquisitions of foreign firms by Canadian residents and acquisitions of Canadian firms by foreign residents have increased. Through most of this period, the dollar has depreciated, but the cumulative net balance of foreign direct investment acquisition flows has remained close to zero. The recent upward trend in bilateral acquisition flows is part of the globalization process as firms consolidate and rationalize their operations, and is not related to the value of the Canadian dollar.
Standard models of international asset pricing imply that there should not be a relationship between the Canadian exchange rate and foreign takeovers of Canadian firms because an exchange rate movement does not give foreign buyers a systematic advantage over domestic buyers.
Purchases of domestic firms by foreign residents are likely to be welfare-improving. Transactions between foreign and domestic residents are voluntary, and they imply that the foreign buyers expect to obtain higher profits from the firms' assets.Topics: Exchange rates
This article summarizes the proceedings of an international research conference hosted by the Bank of Canada in November 2000. The conference marked the fiftieth anniversary of Canada's adoption of a flexible exchange rate, and its title recognizes the seminal contribution of Professor Milton Friedman's article "The Case for Flexible Exchange Rates." His keynote address to the conference is also summarized in the article.
The conference papers re-examine many of the arguments raised by Friedman using recent developments in economic theory and econometric techniques. They investigate the experience of a wide range of industrialized and emerging-market economies. The main findings are that a strong case can be made for flexible exchange rates in economies that are large commodity exporters and that have credible low-inflation monetary policies and relatively well-developed financial systems.Topics: Exchange rate regimes; Exchange rates
This article examines the recent proposition that the decline in Canada's standard of living relative to that of the United States is causally related to the decline in our exchange rate. The authors explore the main channels through which the exchange rate and the standard of living could be related—productivity and the terms of trade—focusing mainly on productivity. They conclude that the decline in world commodity prices and weak demand for domestic output were affecting both Canada's standard of living and the exchange rate and that the flexible exchange rate regime itself did not play an independent role.Topics: Exchange rates
This paper examines the impact of a collapsing exchange rate regime on output in an open economy in which shocks to capital flows and exports predominate. A sticky-price rational expectations model is used to compare the variability of output under the collapsing regime to that under alternative fixed and flexible regimes. Output is found to [...]Topics: Exchange rates
Currency crises in the 1990s, especially those in emerging markets, have sharply disrupted economic activity, affecting not only the country experiencing the crisis, but also those with trade, investment, and geographic links. The authors review the theoretical literature and empirical evidence regarding these crises. They conclude that their primary cause is a fixed nominal exchange rate combined with macroeconomic imbalances, such as current account or fiscal deficits, that the market perceives as unsustainable at the prevailing real exchange rate. They also conclude that currency crises can be prevented through the adoption of sound monetary and fiscal policies, effective regulation and supervision of the financial sector, and a more flexible nominal exchange rate.Topics: Exchange rates