This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to explain why a relatively small number of developing countries keep their exchange rates undervalued while many more overvalue their exchange rates. Using both quantitative data on over one hundred countries and detailed case studies of five developing countries, this book provides strong evidence in support of a domestic political explanation of undervalued exchange rates. The chapter then discusses the conditional preference theory, which argues that undervalued exchange rates are most likely when the manufacturing sector is powerful and the state controls labor and financial markets. It also considers the implications of the theory for our understanding of the global political economy. This is followed by an overview of the subsequent chapters.
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