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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. Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1987. "Nominally Sovereign Debt, Risk Shifting, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 2259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Koppl, Roger & Yeager, Leland B., 1996. "Big Players and Herding in Asset Markets: The Case of the Russian Ruble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 367-383, July.
  3. Tirole, J., 1993. "A Theory of Collective Reputations with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality," Working papers 93-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Hugh Rockoff & Michael D. Bordo, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval"," Departmental Working Papers 199528, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  6. Falcetti, Elisabetta & Missale, Alessandro, 2002. "Public debt indexation and denomination with an independent central bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1825-1850, December.
  7. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2000. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," CARESS Working Papres sell-rep, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  8. Drazen, Allan & Masson, Paul R, 1994. "Credibility of Policies versus Credibility of Policymakers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 735-54, August.
  9. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  10. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998. "Inflation and Reputation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625, David K. Levine.
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  13. Gregory, Paul R., 1979. "The Russian Balance of Payments, the Gold Standard, and Monetary Policy: A Historical Example of Foreign Capital Movements," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(02), pages 379-400, June.
  14. Flandreau, Marc & Sussman, Nathan, 2004. "Old Sins: Exchange Rate Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Cole, Harold L & Dow, James & English, William B, 1995. "Default, Settlement, and Signalling: Lending Resumption in a Reputational Model of Sovereign Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 365-85, May.
  18. Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto H. Stein, 2000. "Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?," IDB Publications 6467, Inter-American Development Bank.
  19. 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.
  20. Jeanne, Olivier, 2003. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow in Foreign Currency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4030, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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