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The Art of Gracefully Exiting a Peg

  • Ahmet Asici

    (Graduate Institute of International Studies)

  • Charles Wyplosz

    (Graduate Institute of International Studies and CEPR)

The wave of liberalization of capital movements, which swept Europe in the 1980s and the emerging market countries in the 1990s, has given rise to the two-corner strategy. According to this view only two exchange rate regimes are sustainable: hard pegs and fully flexible rates. Soft pegs in the middle are seen as doomed, open to irresistible and unpredictable speculative attacks and historical evidence shows clearly that increasing number of countries have exited the soft middle ground, mostly towards the flexible end of the spectrum. However, not all the exits from hard pegs to flexible arrangements are happy. Most countries hesitate to leave the peg when it is working properly, and consider exit option only when they are facing speculative pressure, and then it often is too late. This paper aims to analyze the factors contributing to peaceful exits, that is exiting without a significant loss in the value of the domestic currency. It seeks to find conditions that need to be satisfied to ensure an exit without significant economic costs. Historical record of exchange rate classification comes from Reinhart and Rogoff's path-breaking study on this subject, where they classified regimes on the basis of observed, de facto, currency movements rather than the announced, de jure, official rates. Some interesting results we have found may be put as follows: Cold-blooded exits enacted when the macroeconomic conditions are favorable, that is countries planning to leave a peg are advised to do it when it is least necessary and least expected. Another surprising result is that, efficient and deep financial markets do not help with exits. Countries encouraged to exit pegs before they fully liberalize their financial account and deepen their markets. The study covers the period 1975-2001. Our choice criteria provide 55 cases of exits, 27 of which is peaceful and the rest 28 cases troubled ones. We estimate non-structural probit models with monthly and annual data.

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Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

Volume (Year): 34 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 211–228

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Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:34:y:2003:i:3:p:211-228
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  1. Barry J. Eichengreen & Inci Ötker & A. Javier Hamann & Esteban Jadresic & R. B. Johnston & Hugh Bredenkamp & Paul R. Masson, 1998. "Exit Strategies; Policy Options for Countries Seeking Exchange Rate Flexibility," IMF Occasional Papers 168, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  4. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Chang, R. & Velasco, A., 1999. "Liquidity Crises in Emerging Markets: Theory and Policy," Working Papers 99-14, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2002. "Fear of floating," MPRA Paper 14000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Roberto Rigobon, 1999. "On the Measurement of the International Propagation of Shocks," NBER Working Papers 7354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Levine, Ross, 1992. "Financial structures and economic development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 849, The World Bank.
  9. Sergio Rebelo & Carlos A. Vegh, 2006. "When Is It Optimal to Abandon a Fixed Exchange Rate?," NBER Working Papers 12793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 1999. "The twin crises: The causes of banking and balance of payments problems," MPRA Paper 14081, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2002. "Is the international propagation of financial shocks non-linear?: Evidence from the ERM," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 231-246, June.
  12. Stanley Fischer, 2001. "Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bipolar View Correct?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
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