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Exchange Rate Interventions and Insurance: Is “Fear of Floating” a Cause For Concern?

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  • Francisco Gallego
  • Geraint Jones

Abstract

Fear of floating” is one of the central empirical characteristics of exchange rate regimes in emerging markets. However, while some view “fear of floating” in terms of the optimal ex post monetary response to external shocks, protecting balance sheets and avoiding inflation, others have argued that from an ex ante perspective such a policy leads to private sector underinsurance against sudden stops. A commitment to floating during potential crises would increase the incentives of the private sector to conserve international liquidity. This paper develops a model of the optimal exchange rate regime when both ex ante and ex post concerns are present. Since it is only “fear of floating” during potential sudden stops which undermines insurance, we reexamine the data on exchange rate regimes for evidence that exchange rate flexibility is state-contingent. We find most emerging markets exhibit non-contingent policies with a uniformly low level of flexibility, which together with an absence of substituteinsurance policies supports the claim that greater exchange rate flexibility during sudden stops would be desirable for such countries. However, more recent floats with intermediate levels of credibility exhibit little state contingency because of a uniformly high degree of flexibility. More established floats with high credibility exhibit statecontingent regimes, retaining a capacity for discretionary intervention, but floating during potential crises. Exchange rate flexibility is associated with increased private sector hoarding of dollar assets and reduced incidence of sudden stops. Together the evidence suggests that the insurance benefits to floating for emerging markets can be substantial and that the credibility of the monetary policy framework is central to successful implementation of this policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 326.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:326

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  1. Corrinne Ho & Robert N. McCauley, 2003. "Living with flexible exchange rates: issues and recent experience in inflation targeting emerging market economies," BIS Working Papers 130, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange rates and financial fragility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 329-368.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
  4. Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto H. Stein, 2000. "Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?," Research Department Publications 4205, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1-48, February.
  6. Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Federico Sturzenegger & Iliana Reggio, 2002. "On the Endogeneity of Exchange Rate Regimes," Business School Working Papers veintiuno, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  7. Edwards, Sebastian, 2002. "The great exchange rate debate after Argentina," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 237-252, December.
  8. Bofinger, Peter & Wollmershaeuser, Timo, 2001. "Managed Floating: Understanding the New International Monetary Order," CEPR Discussion Papers 3064, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Sebastian Edwards, 2001. "Exchange Rate Regimes, Capital Flows and Crisis Prevention," NBER Working Papers 8529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barry Eichengreen & Michael D. Bordo, 2002. "Crises Now and Then: What Lessons from the Last Era of Financial Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jay C. Shambaugh, 2004. "The Effect of Fixed Exchange Rates on Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 300-351, February.
  12. Carare, Alina & Stone, Mark R., 2006. "Inflation targeting regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1297-1315, July.
  13. Sebastian Edwards, 2002. "The Great Exchange Rate Debate after Argentina," Working Papers 74, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
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Cited by:
  1. Levan Efremidze & Samuel M. Schreyer & Ozan Sula, 2011. "Sudden stops and currency crises," Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(4), pages 304-321, November.

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