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Hoarding of International Reserves: Mrs Machlup's Wardrobe and the Joneses


  • Yin-Wong Cheung
  • Xingwang Qian


Motivated by the observed international reserve hoarding behavior in the post-1997 crisis period, we explore the Mrs Machlup's Wardrobe hypothesis and the related keeping up with the Joneses argument. It is conceived that, in addition to psychological reasons, holding a relatively high level of international reserves reduces the vulnerability to speculative attacks and promotes growth. A stylized model is constructed to illustrate this type of hoarding behavior. The relevance of the keeping up with the Joneses effect is examined using a few plausible empirical specifications and data from 10 East Asian economies. Panel-based regression results are suggestive of the presence of the Joneses effect, especially in the post-1997 crisis period. Copyright © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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  • Yin-Wong Cheung & Xingwang Qian, 2009. "Hoarding of International Reserves: Mrs Machlup's Wardrobe and the Joneses," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 824-843, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:17:y:2009:i:4:p:824-843

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grubel, Herbert G, 1971. "The Demand for International Reserves: A Critical Review of the Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1148-1166, December.
    2. Stanley Fischer, 1999. "On the Need for an International Lender of Last Resort," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 85-104, Fall.
    3. Aizenman, Joshua & Lee, Yeonho & Rhee, Youngseop, 2007. "International reserves management and capital mobility in a volatile world: Policy considerations and a case study of Korea," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-15, March.
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    5. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2007. "International Reserves: Precautionary Versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 191-214, April.
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    7. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-514, June.
    8. Jaewoo Lee, 2004. "Insurance Value of International Reserves; An Option Pricing Approach," IMF Working Papers 04/175, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2009. "Bretton Woods Ii Still Defines The International Monetary System," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 297-311, August.
    10. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2003. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: What is going on?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 370-400, September.
    11. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2004. "The Return to Soft Dollar Pegging in East Asia: Mitigating Conflicted Virtue," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 169-201, July.
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