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Good Housekeeping? Reputation, Fixed Exchange Rates, and the 'Original Sin' Problem

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  • Kang Yong Tan
  • Prasanna Gai

Abstract

This paper examines how the choice of exchange rate regime can signal financial rectitude and, in so doing, influcence a country's ability to borrow internationally in domestic currency. We develop a model in which the constant probability of a 'type change' creates incentives for disciplined policymakers to fix the exchange rate in an effort to separate themselves from more opportunistic types. Because the track record of a policymaker is imperfectly observable, reputational incentives depend on the past behaviour of previous generations and there is hysterisis in the updating behaviour of creditors. 'Original Sin' - the inflationary track record of one's predecessors - can reverberate over time leading creditors to be wary about extending sovereign loans in domestic currency terms. Our findings seem consistent with the pattern of the currency composition of debt in Japan and Russia at the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings with number 446.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:feam04:446

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Keywords: International Monetary Arrangement; Foreign Currency Debt; Reputation;

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  1. 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.
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  15. Tirole, Jean, 1994. ""A Theory of Collective Reputations" with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality," IDEI Working Papers 38, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  16. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  17. Sussman, Nathan & Yafeh, Yishay, 2000. "Institutions, Reforms, and Country Risk: Lessons from Japanese Government Debt in the Meiji Era," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 442-467, June.
  18. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher Meissner & Angela Redish, 2003. "How "Original Sin" was Overcome: The Evolution of External Debt Denominated in Domestic Currencies in the United States and the British Dominions," NBER Working Papers 9841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
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