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The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates

  • Maurice Obstfeld
  • Kenneth Rogoff

This paper discusses the profound difficulties of maintaining fixed exchange rates in a world of expanding global capital markets. Contrary to popular wisdom, industrialized-country monetary authorities easily have the resources to defend exchange parities against virtually any private speculative attack. But if their commitment to use those resources lacks credibility with markets, the costs to the broader economy of defending an exchange-rate peg can be very high. The dynamic interplay between credibility and commitment is illustrated by the 1992 Swedish and British crises and the 1994-95 Mexican collapse. The authors also discuss the small number of successful fixers.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 9 (1995)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 73-96

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:9:y:1995:i:4:p:73-96
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.4.73
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  1. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  2. Williamson, John, 1993. "Exchange Rate Management," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 188-97, January.
  3. Rose, Andrew K. & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1994. "European exchange rate credibility before the fall," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1185-1216, June.
  4. Peter M. Garber & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1994. "The Operation and Collapse of Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," NBER Working Papers 4971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Svensson, Lars E O, 1994. "Fixed Exchange Rates as a Means to Price Stability: What Have We Learned?," CEPR Discussion Papers 872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," CEPR Discussion Papers 1131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  9. Froot, Kenneth A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Perspectives on PPP and long-run real exchange rates," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 1647-1688 Elsevier.
  10. Barry Eichengreen., 1993. "International Monetary Arrangements for the 21st Century," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-021, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Cukierman Alex, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, And Independance: Theory And Evidence," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 10, December.
  17. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
  18. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "Can international monetary policy cooperation be counterproductive?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 199-217, May.
  19. David T. Beers & Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1983. "Speculations about the speculation against the Hong Kong dollar," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  20. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  21. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  22. Rudiger Dornbusch & Alejandro Werner, 1994. "Mexico: Stabilization, Reform, and No Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 253-316.
  23. Garber, Peter & Taylor, Mark P, 1995. "Sand in the Wheels of Foreign Exchange Markets: A Sceptical Note," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 173-80, January.
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