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Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?

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  • Roc Armenter
  • Martin Bodenstein

Abstract

The Barro-Gordon inflation bias has provided the most influential argument for fixed exchange rate regimes. However, with low inflation rates now widespread, credibility concerns seem no longer relevant. Why give up independent monetary policy to contain an inflation bias that is already under control? We argue that credibility problems do not end with the inflation bias and they are a larger drawback for flexible exchange rates than usually thought. Absent commitment, independent monetary policy can induce expectation traps---that is, welfare ranked multiple equilibria---and perverse policy responses to real shocks, i.e., an equilibrium policy response that is welfare inferior to policy inaction. Both possibilities imply that flexible exchange rates feature unnecessary macroeconomic volatility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 865.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:865

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Keywords: Foreign exchange rates ; Inflation (Finance) ; Monetary policy;

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  1. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2000. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: Price Setting and Exchange Rate Flexibility," NBER Working Papers 7665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stefania Albanesi & V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2002. "Expectation Traps and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2001. "The benefits of dollarization when stabilization policy lacks credibility and financial markets are imperfect," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 440-481.
  4. Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2004. "Monetary discretion, pricing complementarity and dynamic multiple equilibria," International Finance Discussion Papers 802, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Obstfeld, Maurice & Duarte, Margarida, 2005. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: The Case for Exchange-Rate Flexibility Restored," 2005 Meeting Papers 386, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Cristina Arellano & Jonathan Heathcote, 2007. "Dollarization and financial integration," Staff Report 385, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2002. "Dollarization: Analytical Issues," NBER Working Papers 8838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Svensson, L.E.O., 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," Papers 595, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  11. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
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  13. Andres Velasco & Roberto Chang, 2000. "Exchange-Rate Policy for Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 71-75, May.
  14. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "No Single Currency Regime is Right for All Countries or At All Times," NBER Working Papers 7338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Romer, 1991. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1996. "Expectation traps and discretion," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Roc Armenter & Martin Bodenstein, 2006. "Can the U.S. monetary policy fall (again) in an expectation trap?," International Finance Discussion Papers 860, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2003. "Globalization and global disinflation," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-112.
  19. Dupor, Bill, 2003. "Optimal random monetary policy with nominal rigidity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 66-78, September.
  20. Cooley, Thomas F & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2001. "The Cost of Losing Monetary Independence: The Case of Mexico," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 370-97, May.
  21. Roc Armenter, 2008. "A General Theory (and Some Evidence) of Expectation Traps in Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(5), pages 867-895, 08.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Bretton Woods and the Great Inflation," NBER Working Papers 14532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bodenstein Martin R. & Armenter Roc, 2009. "Of Nutters and Doves," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, September.
  3. Roc Armenter & Martin Bodenstein, 2006. "Can the U.S. monetary policy fall (again) in an expectation trap?," International Finance Discussion Papers 860, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Roc Armenter & Martin Bodenstein, 2005. "Can U.S. monetary policy fall (again) into an expectation trap?," Staff Reports 229, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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