The real exchange rate and economic growth: a meta-analysis

Masagus M. Ridhwan*, Affandi Ismail, Peter Nijkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Empirical studies regarding the impact of the real exchange rate (RER) on economic growth are extensively available. However, the literature as a whole appears to report varying results, while the causes of such differences have not been analyzed systematically. The present study aims to fill the gap in the literature. Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, the authors compile 543 empirical estimates from 51 studies of the exchange rate-growth nexus in order to meta-analyze its relationship. Meta-analysis allows the authors to quantitatively synthesize previous empirical studies and explain the variation in the results. This method also enables us to investigate the possibility of publication bias, as there is a tendency in research only to report results that are both statistically significant and show the expected signs. Findings: After addressing publication bias and heterogeneity in the estimates, the meta-regression results show that RER depreciation (or undervaluation) genuinely favors economic growth. On average, RER depreciation has a greater impact on economic growth in developing countries than the developed ones. The study’s results imply that maintaining an undervalued RER could be favorable to spur economic growth, especially in developing countries. Originality/value: Initially predominant in the medical literature, meta-analysis has been on a rising edge in economics. This progress has produced many systematic quantitative review analyses with continuously improved statistical-econometric practices related to economic variables. However, to the authors’ knowledge, no comprehensive meta-regression analysis of the relationship between exchange rate and economic growth has been conducted and published in any publicly accessible academic outlet. Therefore, this study aims to fill this gap in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-318
JournalJournal of Economic Studies
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2024


  • Economic growth
  • Meta-regression analysis
  • Mixed effect
  • Real exchange rate


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