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Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?

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  • Ricardo Hausmann
  • Ugo Panizza
  • Ernesto H. Stein

Abstract

Countries that are classified as having floating exchange rate systems (or very wide bands) show strikingly different patterns of behavior. They hold very different levels of international reserves and allow very different volatilities in the movements of the exchange rate relative to the volatility that they tolerate either on the level of reserves or in interest rates. We document these differences and present a model that explains them as the optimal response of a Central Bank that attempts to minimize a standard loss function, in an environment in which firms are credit-constrained and incomplete markets limit their ability to avoid currency mismatches. This model suggests that the difference in the way countries float could be related to their differing levels of exchange rate pass-through and differences in their ability to avoid currency mismatches. We test these implications and find a very strong and robust relationship between the pattern of floating and the ability of a country to borrow internationally in its own currency. We find weaker and less robust evidence on the importance of pass-through to account for differences across countries with respect to their exchange rate/monetary management.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications with number 6467.

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Date of creation: May 2000
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6467

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Keywords: Capital flows; Exchange rates; exchange rate; emerging markets; dollarization; WP-418;

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References

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  1. Aizenman, Joshua & Frenkel, Jacob A, 1985. "Optimal Wage Indexation, Foreign Exchange Intervention, and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 402-23, June.
  2. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
  3. Laurence Ball, 1998. "Policy Rules for Open Economies," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9806, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  4. Banerjee, Abhijit & Bacchetta, Philippe & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Currency Crises and Monetary Policy in an Economy with Credit Constraints," Scholarly Articles 4554218, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Bacchetta, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 1999. "Capital Markets and the Instability of Open Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2083, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
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  8. Luis Felipe Cespedes & Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2000. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," NBER Working Papers 7840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. " Contagious Currency Crises: First Tests," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(4), pages 463-84, December.
  11. Philippe Bacchetta, 2000. "Monetary Policy with Foreign Currency Debt," Working Papers 00.03, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  12. Ernesto H. Stein & Jeffry Frieden, 2000. "The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy in Latin America: An Analytical Overview," Research Department Publications 3118, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  13. Gordon de Brouwer & Neil R. Ericsson, 1995. "Modelling Inflation in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9510, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  14. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2001. "Fixing for your life," MPRA Paper 13873, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Frenkel, Jacob A. & Aizenman, Joshua, 1982. "Aspects of the optimal management of exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3-4), pages 231-256, November.
  17. Sebastian Edwards & Miguel A. Savastano, 1999. "Exchange Rates in Emerging Economies: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?," NBER Working Papers 7228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 2000. "Exchange rate dynamics in a model of pricing-to-market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 215-244, February.
  19. Barry Eichengreen & Andrew K. Rose & Charles Wyplosz, 1996. "Contagious Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 5681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 1999. "Capital Flow Reversals,the Exchange Rate Debate,and Dollarization," MPRA Paper 8951, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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