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The International Monetary System: Living with Asymmetry

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  • Obstfeld, Maurice

Abstract

This paper analyzes current stresses in the two key areas that concerned the architects of the original Bretton Woods system: international liquidity and exchange rate management. Despite radical changes since World War II in the market context for liquidity and exchange rate concerns, they remain central to discussions of international macroeconomic policy coordination. To take two prominent examples of specific (and related) coordination problems, liquidity issues are paramount in strategies of national self-insurance through foreign reserve accumulation, while recent attempts by emerging market economies (EMEs) to limit real currency appreciation have relied heavily on nominal exchange rate management. A central message is that a diverse set of potential asymmetries among sovereign member states provides fertile ground for a variety of coordination failures. The paper goes on to discuss institutions and policies that might mitigate some of these inefficiencies.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8703.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8703

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Keywords: currency wars; exchange rates; global imbalances; international monetary system; liquidity; Triffin dilemma;

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  1. Stephen Hall & George S. Tavlas, 2011. "The Debate about the Revived Bretton-Woods Regime: A Survey and Extension of the Literature," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/21, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  2. Edwin M. Truman, 2008. "On What Terms Is the IMF Worth Funding?," Working Paper Series WP08-11, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  3. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Murray C. Kemp, 1962. "Foreign Investment And The National Advantage," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 38(81), pages 56-62, 03.
  5. Aaron Brown, 2011. "Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System, by Barry Eichengreen," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(6), pages 825-826.
  6. James M Boughton, 2011. "Jacques J. Polak and the Evolution of the International Monetary System," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(2), pages 379-399, June.
  7. C. Randall Henning, 1994. "Currencies and Politics in the United States, Germany, and Japan," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 15.
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Cited by:
  1. Philip R. Lane, 2013. "Growth and Adjustment Challenge for the Euro Area," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp426, IIIS.
  2. Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Global Financial Stability and the Lessons of History: A Review of Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff's This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1092-1105, December.
  3. Filardo , Andrew J. & Siklos , Pierre L., 2013. "Prolonged reserves accumulation, credit booms, asset prices and monetary policy in Asia," BOFIT Discussion Papers 5/2013, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.

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