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Pegs and Pain

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  • Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé
  • Martin Uríbe

Abstract

We identify a disconnect between historical and model-based assessments of the costs of currency pegs due to nominal rigidities. While the former attribute major contractions and massive unemployment to currency pegs, the latter find miniscule welfare losses. The goal of this paper is to reconcile these two assessments. We refocus attention to downward wage inflexibility as the central source of nominal rigidity. More importantly, our model departs from existing sticky wage models in the Calvo-Rotemberg tradition in that employment is not always demand determined. This departure creates an endogenous connection between macroeconomic volatility and the average level of unemployment and in this way opens the door to large welfare gains from stabilization policy. In a calibrated version of the model, an external crisis, defined as a two-standard-deviation decline in tradable output and a two-standard-deviation increase in the country interest rate premium, causes the unemployment rate to rise by more than 20 percentage points under a peg. Currency pegs are shown to be highly costly also during regular business-cycle fluctuations. The median welfare cost of a currency peg is 4 and 10 percent of consumption per period.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16847.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16847

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  1. 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.
  2. Pablo Andres Neumeyer & Fabrizio Perri, 1999. "Business Cycles in Emerging Economies: the role of interest rates," Department of Economics Working Papers 014, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  3. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vivian Z. Yue, 2008. "A Solution to the Disconnect between Country Risk and Business Cycle Theories," NBER Working Papers 13861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-85, March.
  5. Martín González Rozada & Pablo Andrés Neumeyer & Alejandra Clemente & Diego Luciano Sasson & Nicholas Trachter, 2004. "The Elasticity of Substitution in Demand for Non-Tradable Goods in Latin America: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3179, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Jonathan D. Ostry & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1992. "Private Saving and Terms of Trade Shocks: Evidence from Developing Countries," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(3), pages 495-517, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Luca Fornaro, 2013. "International Debt Deleveraging," Working Papers 182, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  2. Steven Pennings & Esther Pérez Ruiz, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidations and Growth: Does Speed Matter?," IMF Working Papers 13/230, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Zhen Huo & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2013. "Paradox of Thrift Recessions," NBER Working Papers 19443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Reis, Ricardo, 2013. "The Portuguese Slump and Crash and the Euro Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Mandelman, Federico S., 2013. "Monetary and exchange rate policy under remittance fluctuations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 128-147.
  6. Akıncı, Özge, 2013. "Global financial conditions, country spreads and macroeconomic fluctuations in emerging countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 358-371.
  7. Alp Simsek & Anton Korinek, 2013. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," 2013 Meeting Papers 1369, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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