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The Return to Soft Dollar Pegging in East Asia: Mitigating Conflicted Virtue

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  • Ronald McKinnon
  • Gunther Schnabl

Abstract

Before the 1997-98 crisis, the East Asian economies - except for Japan - informally pegged their currencies to the dollar. These soft pegs made them vulnerable to a depreciating yen, thereby aggravating the crisis. To limit future misalignments, the IMF wants East Asian currencies to float freely. Alternatively, authors have proposed increasing the weight of the yen in East Asian currency baskets. However, dollar pegs are entirely rational from the perspective of each Asian country - both to facilitate hedging by merchants and banks against exchange risk, and to help central banks anchor their domestic price levels. Post-crisis, as the East Asian economies transform themselves from being dollar debtors into dollar creditors, they face 'conflicted virtue': pressure to appreciate their currencies that could lead to a deflationary spiral. Rather than undervaluing their currencies to promote exports as is commonly alleged, East Asian governments are trapped into returning to - and then maintaining - soft dollar pegs. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal International Finance.

Volume (Year): 7 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (07)
Pages: 169-201

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Handle: RePEc:bla:intfin:v:7:y:2004:i:2:p:169-201

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  1. Leonardo Hernández & Peter Montiel, 2002. "Post-crisis exchange rate policy in five Asian countries: filling in the 'hollow middle'?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Sep.
  2. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2003. "The East Asian Dollar Standard, Fear of Floating, and Original Sin," Working Papers 03001, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ogawa, Eiji & Ito, Takatoshi, 2002. "On the Desirability of a Regional Basket Currency Arrangement," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 317-334, September.
  4. Rishi Goyal & Ronald McKinnon, 2003. "Japan's Negative Risk Premium in Interest Rates: The Liquidity Trap and the Fall in Bank Lending," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 339-363, 03.
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  6. Schnabl, Gunther, 2003. "China: a stabilizing or deflationary influence in East Asia?The problem of conflicted virtue," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 263, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  7. Eric Hillebrand & Gunther Schnabl, . "The Effects of Japanese Foreign Exchange Intervention: GARCH Estimation and Change Point Detection," Departmental Working Papers 2003-09, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  8. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1994. "Yen Bloc or Dollar Bloc? Exchange Rate Policies of the East Asian Economies," NBER Chapters, in: Macroeconomic Linkage: Savings, Exchange Rates, and Capital Flows, NBER-EASE Volume 3, pages 295-333 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2005. "An essay on the revived Bretton Woods system," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
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  15. Fernald, John & Edison, Hali & Loungani, Prakash, 1999. "Was China the first domino? Assessing links between China and other Asian economies," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 515-535, August.
  16. Stanley Fischer, 2001. "Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bipolar View Correct?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
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