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Key currency status: An exorbitant privilege and an extraordinary risk

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  • Canzoneri, Matthew
  • Cumby, Robert
  • Diba, Behzad
  • López-Salido, David

Abstract

What are the costs and benefits of the dollar's status as the key currency in the international monetary system? Here, we present a calibrated two country model in which all exports are invoiced in the key currency, and government bonds denominated in the key currency are held internationally to facilitate trade, and as official reserve assets. We show that the “exorbitant privilege” accruing to the key currency country comes from three sources: (1) a bond seigniorage that we estimate to be worth about a half a percent of consumption per period to the United States, (2) asymmetric responses to exogenous shocks that are worth an additional quarter of a percent of consumption per period, and (3) a macroeconomic hegemony in monetary and fiscal policy, reflecting the fact that the key currency's policy instruments are more potent. But, there is also an exorbitant risk to being the key currency country. We show that the costs of a potential dumping of key currency bonds are also substantial. Moreover, there appear to be no obvious monetary or fiscal policy responses that would lower the costs significantly.

Suggested Citation

  • Canzoneri, Matthew & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad & López-Salido, David, 2013. "Key currency status: An exorbitant privilege and an extraordinary risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 371-393.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:37:y:2013:i:c:p:371-393
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jimonfin.2013.06.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Cova, Pietro & Pagano, Patrizio & Pisani, Massimiliano, 2016. "Foreign exchange reserve diversification and the “exorbitant privilege”: Global macroeconomic effects," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 82-101.
    2. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2016. "Global macroeconomic effects of exiting from unconventional monetary policy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1078, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2015. "Domestic and international macroeconomic effects of the Eurosystem expanded asset purchase programme," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1036, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Steiner, Andreas, 2014. "Current account balance and dollar standard: Exploring the linkages," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 65-94.
    5. Camila Casas & Federico J. Díez & Gita Gopinath & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2016. "Dominant Currency Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 22943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Linnemann, Ludger & Schabert, Andreas, 2015. "Liquidity premia and interest rate parity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 178-192.
    7. McCauley, Robert N., 2015. "Does the US dollar confer an exorbitant privilege?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-14.
    8. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2014. "Foreign exchange reserve diversification and the "exorbitant privilege"," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 964, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Hyoung-kyu Chey & Yu Wai Vic Li, 2016. "Bringing the Central Bank into the Study of Currency Internationalization: Monetary Policy, Independence, and Internationalization," GRIPS Discussion Papers 15-23, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

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    Keywords

    Key currency; Costs and benefits;

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