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Is there a reasonably well-established scheme for estimating the value of the dollar in international trade, somehow relating it to the "average" of other currencies or to some currency-independent metric? Something that could be used when researching the relationship between fiscal policies and international trade.

(I would consider using the Euro, but I'd like numbers going back to the 70s, at least, and obviously the Euro doesn't work for that. In addition, it is perhaps a bit destabilized by, eg, the Greek economic crisis.)

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It sounds like you want the Trade-Weighted Dollar Index, which is available from 1973 on for major currencies. It's the value of the dollar against a basket of other currencies, weighted by their share of US trade.

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  • $\begingroup$ Real values can also be affected by inflation both inside the United States and outside $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    May 10, 2017 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Henry Inflation will be captured in the index. A high rate of domestic inflation would be reflected as a reduced value of the trade-weighted dollar, conversely foreign inflation would increase it. If domestic and foreign inflation are equal, the value of the dollar in international trade— which is what the questioner asked for an index of— would be unchanged. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2017 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ If prices double in the United States and in its trading partners while the nominal exchange rates stay the same, it can be argued that all the currencies have seen their real values halve even when their relative values are unchanged $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    May 10, 2017 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ I understand your point, but a) it's irrelevant, as we haven't seen a period of global hyperinflation between 1973 and today, and b) the question was "the value of the dollar in international trade" (and specifically with reference to fiscal policy) and thus introducing global inflation (keeping in mind that relative inflation is already captured in relative values) would only add an undesirable additional factor to any analysis. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2017 at 23:50

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