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On the Paradox of Prudential Regulations in the Globalized Economy: International Reserves and the Crisis a Reassessment

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  • Joshua Aizenman

Abstract

This paper discusses two pertinent issues dealing with the global liquidity crisis -- global prudential regulation reform, and reassessment of using international reserves in the crisis. We point out the paradox of prudential regulations -- while the identity of economic actors that benefited directly from crises avoidance is unknown, the cost and the burden of regulations are transparent. Hence, crises that had been avoided are imperceptible and are underrepresented in the public discourse, and the demand for prudential regulations declines during prolonged good times, thereby increasing the ultimate cost of eventual crises. While the seeds of the present crisis were mostly home grown, international flows of capital magnified its costs. Global financial integration produces the by-product of "regulatory arbitrage" -- capital tends to flow to under regulated countries, frequently resulting in excessive risk taking, in anticipation of future bailout. A coordinated globalized prudential regulation, by increasing the cost of prudential deregulation, may mitigate the temptation to under-regulate during prolonged good-times, thus adding a side benefit. We also analyze the different approaches to the use of reserves during the crisis and what this means for the global financial system. The deleveraging triggered by the crisis implies that countries that hoarded reserves have been reaping the benefits. The crisis illustrates the importance of the self insurance provided by reserves, as well as the usefulness of policies that channel a share of the windfall gains associated with improvements in the terms-of-trade to reserves and sovereign wealth funds. The reluctance of many developing countries to draw down on their reserve holdings raises the possibility that they may now suffer less from the "fear of floating" than from a "fear of losing international reserves", which may signal deterioration in the credit worthiness of a country.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14779.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14779

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  1. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2008. "Sovereign Wealth Funds: Stylized Facts about their Determinants and Governance," NBER Working Papers 14562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2008. "Assessing the Emerging Global Financial Architecture: Measuring the Trilemma's Configurations over Time," NBER Working Papers 14533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice & Shambaugh, Jay C & Taylor, Alan M, 2008. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," CEPR Discussion Papers 6693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Joshua Aizenman, 2008. "Large Hoarding Of International Reserves And The Emerging Global Economic Architecture," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 76(5), pages 487-503, 09.
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Cited by:
  1. Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2009. "Indian Currency and Beyond. The Legacy of the Early Economics of Keynes in the Times of Bretton Woods II," Working Papers 121, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  2. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2009. "On Global Currencies," Working Paper Series rwp09-026, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Majid, Nomaan, 2009. "The global recession and developing countries," ILO Working Papers 448267, International Labour Organization.

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