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International Liquidity Management: Sterilization Policy in Illiquid Financial Markets

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Arvind Krishnamurthy

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

During the booms that invariably precede crises in emerging economies, policy makers often struggle to limit capital flows and their expansionary consequences. The main policy tool for this task is sterilization --essentially a swap of international reserves for public bonds. However, there is an extensive debate on the effectiveness of this policy, with many arguing that it may be counterproductive once the (over-) reaction of the private sector is considered. But what forces account for the private sector's reaction remains largely unexplained. In this paper we provide a model to discuss these issues. We first demonstrate that policies to smooth expansions in anticipation of downturns can be Pareto improving in economies where domestic financial markets are underdeveloped. We then discuss the implementation of this policy via sterilization, outlining cases in which the policy succeeds and those in which it fails. Paradoxically the greatest risk of policy arises in situations where policy is most needed -- that is when financial markets are illiquid. Our mechanism is akin to the ``implicit bailout" problem, despite the fact that the central bank acts non-selectively and only intervenes through open markets; illiquidity replaces corruption and ineptitude. In addition to an appreciation of the currency and the emergence of a quasi-fiscal deficit, the private sector's reaction to sterilization may lead to an expansion rather than the wanted contraction in aggregate demand and a bias toward short term capital inflows.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1700.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1700

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  1. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-48, April.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel., 1993. "Sterilization of Money Inflows: Difficult (Calvo) or Easy (Reisen)?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-024, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Jeremy A.Rogoff Bulow & Kenneth, 1986. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 43, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  4. Montiel, Peter & Reinhart, Carmen M., 1999. "Do capital controls and macroeconomic policies influence the volume and composition of capital flows? Evidence from the 1990s," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 619-635, August.
  5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  6. Guillermo A. Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1993. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 108-151, March.
  7. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 5817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Scholarly Articles 12491028, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Debt Maturity Structure and Liquidity Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 709-37, August.
  10. Allen, F. & Gale, D., 1991. "Limited Market Participation and Volatility of Asset Prices," Weiss Center Working Papers 2-92, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  11. Reinhart, Carmen & Magud, Nicolas, 2007. "Capital controls: An evaluation," MPRA Paper 14097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    • Nicolas Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2007. "Capital Controls: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 645-674 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1991. "The Perils of Sterilization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(4), pages 921-926, December.
  13. Jun-Koo Kang & Rene M. Stulz, 1995. "Why Is There a Home Bias? An Analysis of Foreign Portfolio Equity Ownership in Japan," NBER Working Papers 5166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 1998. "“Some Lessons for Policy Makers Who Deal with the Mixed Blessing of Capital Inflows,”," MPRA Paper 7123, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Ricardo J.Caballero, 2001. "Macroeconomic volatility in Latin America: a view and three case studies," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 28(1 Year 20), pages 5-52, June.
  2. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2000. "International and Domestic Collateral Constraints in a Model of Emerging Market Crises," NBER Working Papers 7971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Tokatlidis, Ioannis, 2005. "Dollar Shortages and Crises," MPRA Paper 832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2003. "Liquidity Shortages and Banking Crises," NBER Working Papers 10071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2001. "International Liquidity Illusion: On the Risks of Sterilization," NBER Working Papers 8141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Fernando Aportela & Francisco Gallego & Pablo García, 2003. "Reserves Over the Transitions to Floating and to Inflation Targeting: Lessons From the Developed World," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 211, Central Bank of Chile.
  7. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2001. "Smoothing Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 8427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2001. "A "Vertical" Analysis of Crises and Intervention: Fear of Floating and Ex-ante Problems," NBER Working Papers 8428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. M S Mohanty & Philip Turner, 2005. "Intervention: what are the domestic consequences?," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Foreign exchange market intervention in emerging markets: motives, techniques and implications, volume 24, pages 56-81 Bank for International Settlements.
  10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2000. "Dollarization of Liabilities: Underinsurance and Domestic Financial Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 7792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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