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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. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "Expectation Traps and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 715-741.
  2. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2002. "Fear of floating," MPRA Paper 14000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-Fulfilling Features," NBER Working Papers 5285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2003. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: Price Setting and Exchange-Rate Flexibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 765-783, October.
  7. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, `Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," NBER Working Papers 5251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Cristina Arellano & Jonathan Heathcote, 2007. "Dollarization and financial integration," International Finance Discussion Papers 890, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. 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.
  11. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1996. "Expectations, traps and discretion," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  12. Armenter, Roc & Bodenstein, Martin, 2008. "Can The U.S. Monetary Policy Fall (Again) In An Expectation Trap?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 664-693, November.
  13. Duarte, Margarida & Obstfeld, Maurice, 2008. "Monetary policy in the open economy revisited: The case for exchange-rate flexibility restored," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 949-957, October.
  14. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Dupor, Bill, 2003. "Optimal random monetary policy with nominal rigidity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 66-78, September.
  16. 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.
  17. David Romer, 1991. "Openness and inflation: theory and evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  18. Andres Velasco & Roberto Chang, 2000. "Exchange-Rate Policy for Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 71-75, May.
  19. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2002. "Dollarization: Analytical Issues," NBER Working Papers 8838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2003. "Globalization and global disinflation," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-112.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.).
  3. 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.
  4. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Bretton Woods and the Great Inflation," NBER Working Papers 14532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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