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The East Asian Dollar Standard, Fear of Floating, and Original Sin

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  • Ronald McKinnon
  • Gunther Schnabl

Abstract

Before the crisis of 1997/98, the East Asian economies-except for Japan but including China-pegged their currencies to the US dollar. To avoid further turmoil, the IMF argues that these currencies should float more freely. However, the authors' econometric estimations show that the dollar's predominant weight in East Asian currency baskets has returned to its pre-crisis levels. By 2002, the day-to-day volatility of each country's exchange rate against the dollar had again become negligible. Most governments were rapidly accumulating a "war chest" of official dollar reserves, which portends that this exchange rate stabilization will come to extend over months or quarters. From the doctrine of "original sin" applied to emerging-market economies, the authors argue that this fear of floating is entirely rational from the perspective of each individual country. And their joint pegging to the dollar benefits the East Asian dollar bloc as a whole, although Japan remains an important outlier. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 331-360

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:8:y:2004:i:3:p:331-360

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References

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  1. Wei, S.J. & Frankel, J.A., 1992. "Yen Bloc or Dollar Bloc: Exchange Rate Policies of the East Asian Economies," Papers 92-08, University of Birmingham - International Financial Group.
  2. Takatoshi Ito & Anne O. Krueger, 1994. "Macroeconomic Linkage: Savings, Exchange Rates, and Capital Flows, NBER-EASE Volume 3," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_94-1, June.
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  8. Rishi Goyal & Ronald McKinnon, 2002. "Japan's Negative Risk Premium in Interest Rates: The Liquidity Trap and Fall in Bank Lending," Working Papers 02006, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  9. Reinhart, Carmen, 2000. "The mirage of floating exchange rates," MPRA Paper 13736, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. 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.
  11. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Mirage of Floating Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 65-70, May.
  12. Ronald I. McKinnon & Huw Pill, 1999. "Exchange Rate Regimes for Emerging Markets: Moral Hazard and International Overborrowing," Working Papers 99018, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  13. Andrew Berg & Paolo Mauro & Michael Mussa & Alexander K. Swoboda & Esteban Jadresic & Paul R. Masson, 2000. "Exchange Rate Regimes in an Increasingly Integrated World Economy," IMF Occasional Papers 193, International Monetary Fund.
  14. John Williamson, 2000. "Exchange Rate Regimes for Emerging Markets: Reviving the Intermediate Option," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa60.
  15. Kawai, Masahiro, 2002. "Exchange Rate Arrangements in East Asia: Lessons from the 1997-98 Currency Crisis," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 20(S1), pages 167-204, December.
  16. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2002. "Synchronized Business Cycles in East Asia: Fluctuations in the Yen/Dollar Exchange Rate and China’s Stabilizing Role," Working Papers 02010, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  17. Kawai, Masahiro & Akiyama, Shigeru, 2000. "Implications of the currency crisis for exchange rate arrangements in emerging East Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2502, The World Bank.
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