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When Is It Optimal to Abandon a Fixed Exchange Rate?

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  • Sergio Rebelo
  • Carlos A. Vegh

Abstract

The influential Krugman-Flood-Garber (KFG) model of balance of payment crises assumes that a fixed exchange rate is abandoned if and only if international reserves reach a critical threshold value. From a positive standpoint, the KFG rule is at odds with many episodes in which the central bank has plenty of international reserves at the time of abandonment. We study the optimal exit policy and show that, from a normative standpoint, the KFG rule is generally suboptimal. We consider a model in which the fixed exchange rate regime has become unsustainable due to an unexpected increase in government spending. We show that, when there are no exit costs, it is optimal to abandon immediately. When there are exit costs, the optimal abandonment time is a decreasing function of the size of the fiscal shock. For large fiscal shocks, immediate abandonment is optimal. Our model is consistent with evidence suggesting that many countries exit fixed exchange rate regimes with still plenty of international reserves in the central bank's vault.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12793.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Publication status: published as Rebelo, Sergio and Carlos Vegh. "When is it Optimal to Abandon a Fixed Exchange Rate." Review of Economic Studies 75, 3 (2008): 929-955.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12793

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  1. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  3. Michael M Hutchison & Ilan Noy, 2002. "Output Costs of Currency and Balance of Payments Crises in Emerging Markets," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2-3), pages 27-44, September.
  4. Robert P. Flood & Jagdeep S. Bhandari & Jocelyn P. Horne, 1989. "Evolution of Exchange Rate Regimes," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(4), pages 810-835, December.
  5. Burnside, C. & Eichenbaum, M. & Rebelo, S., 1998. "Prospective Deficits and the Asian Currency Crisis," RCER Working Papers 458, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Flood, Robert P & Jeanne, Olivier, 2000. "An Interest Rate Defence of a Fixed Exchange Rate?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2004. "Government guarantees and self-fulfilling speculative attacks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 31-63, November.
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Speculative Attack and the External Constraint in a Maximizing Model of the Balance of Payments," NBER Working Papers 1437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," NBER Working Papers 1486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ratna Sahay & Deepak Mishra & Poonam Gupta, 2003. "Output Response to Currency Crises," IMF Working Papers 03/230, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Reinhart, Carmen & Vegh, Carlos, 1995. "Nominal interest rates, consumption booms, and lack of credibility: A quantitative examination," MPRA Paper 13898, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Drazen, Allan & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Stabilization with Exchange Rate Management," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 835-55, November.
  14. Michael Mussa, 2002. "Argentina and the Fund: From Triumph to Tragedy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa67.
  15. Roberto Rigobon, 2002. "Disinflation and Fiscal Reform: A Neoclassical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 8706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Rebelo, Sergio & Xie, Danyang, 1999. "On the optimality of interest rate smoothing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 263-282, April.
  17. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  18. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1987. "Balance of Payments Crises in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(1), pages 19-32, February.
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  20. Robert P. Flood & Peter M. Garber & Charles Kramer, 1995. "Collapsing Exchange Rate Regimes: Another Linear Example," NBER Working Papers 5318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Amartya Lahiri & Carlos A. Vegh, 2000. "Delaying the Inevitable: Optimal Interest Rate Policy and BOP Crises," NBER Working Papers 7734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Eduardo J.J. Ganapolsky, 2003. "Optimal fear of floating: the role of currency mismatches and fiscal constraints," Working Paper 2003-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  2. Asici, Ahmet & Wyplosz, Charles, 2003. "The Art of Gracefully Exiting a Peg," MPRA Paper 4432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Eduardo J. J. Ganapolsky, 2004. "Optimal Fear of Floating: The Role of Currency Mismatches and Fiscal Constraints," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 85, Econometric Society.
  4. Pierre-Richard Agenor, 2004. "Orderly exits from adjustable pegs and exchange rate bands," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 83-108.
  5. Amartya Lahiri & Carlos A. Végh, 2007. "Output Costs, Currency Crises and Interest Rate Defence of a Peg," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 216-239, 01.
  6. Asici, Ahmet Atil & Ivanova, Nadezhda & Wyplosz, Charles, 2005. "How to Exit from Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 5141, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Burnside, A Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2003. "Government Finance in the Wake of Currency Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 3939, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ahmed Atil Asici, 2008. "Parametric and Non-Parametric Approaches to Exits from Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," Working Papers 401, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2008.
  9. Post, Erik, 2007. "Macroeconomic imbalances and exchange rate regime shifts," Working Paper Series 2007:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  10. Eduardo J.J. Ganapolsky, 2003. "Reserve requirements, bank runs, and optimal policies in small open economies," Working Paper 2003-39, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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