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Speculative Attack and the External Constraint in a Maximizing Model of the Balance of Payments

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  • Maurice Obstfeld

Abstract

This paper analyzes inevitable transitions between fixed and floating exchange-rate regimes in a balance-of-payments model where individual preferences are explicitly specified. The goal is to assessthe analogy between speculative attacks in foreign exchange markets and attacks on official price-fixing schemes in natural resource markets. In discrete time the analogy with resource markets is only partially correct, for in a deterministic model the collapse of a fixed rate may be characterized by two, successive attacks. The two-attack equilibriumis peculiar to discrete-time analysis, however. In the continuous-time limit of discrete-time models there is a single attack timed so as to rule out an anticipated discrete jump in the exchange rate.Balance-of-payments models differ from nonrenewable resource models in that foreign exchange reserves may be borrowed from abroad.The paper therefore asks whether there are limits to central-bank borrowing possibilities. In an idealized world where all private incomeis subject to lump-sum taxation, central-bank reserves can become infinitely negative with no violation of the public sector's intertemporal budget constraint. Nonetheless, a growth rate of domestic credit exceeding the world interest rate, if maintained indefinitely, leads to violation of the constraint in the paper's model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1437.

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Date of creation: Aug 1984
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Publication status: published as "Speculative Attack and the External Constraint in a Maximizing Model ofthe Balance of Payments." From Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 1-22, (February 1986).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1437

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  1. 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.
  2. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1977. "The Stability of Models of Money and Perfect Foresight: A Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1737-39, October.
  3. Stephen W. Salant & Dale W. Henderson, 1976. "Market anticipations, government policy, and the price of gold," International Finance Discussion Papers 81, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Maurice Obstfeld, 1980. "Macroeconomic Policy, Exchange-Rate Dynamics, and Optimal Asset Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Connolly, Michael B & Taylor, Dean, 1984. "The Exact Timing of the Collapse of an Exchange Rate Regime and Its Impact on the Relative Price of Traded Goods," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(2), pages 194-207, May.
  6. Bennett T. McCallum, 1982. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Salant, Stephen W & Henderson, Dale W, 1978. "Market Anticipations of Government Policies and the Price of Gold," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 627-48, August.
  8. Wyplosz, Charles, 1986. "Capital controls and balance of payments crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 167-179, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  11. Feenstra, Robert C., 1986. "Functional equivalence between liquidity costs and the utility of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 271-291, March.
  12. Brock, William A, 1974. "Money and Growth: The Case of Long Run Perfect Foresight," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(3), pages 750-77, October.
  13. Salant, Stephen W, 1983. "The Vulnerability of Price Stabilization Schemes to Speculative Attack," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-38, February.
  14. Liviatan, Nissan, 1984. "Tight money and inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 5-15, January.
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