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Dollarization: a scorecard

  • Roberto Chang

In January of this year, Jamil Mahuad, then president of Ecuador, startled his compatriots by proposing to eliminate the national currency, the sucre. Instead, Mahuad advanced, the U.S. dollar would replace the sucre for all purposes. Although a popular uprising forced him out of office a week later, the succeeding government has actually implemented his proposal and recently announced that U.S. dollars will have completely replaced the sucre by September 2000. ; The question remains as to whether the Ecuadorian plan will be successful and, more generally, whether other countries will follow Ecuador's lead. But one thing is clear: proposals to replace the domestic currency with the U.S. dollar, or to "dollarize" the economy, have taken center stage in Latin America and other developing regions. To illustrate why dollarization has risen from neglect to such a central role, this article discusses the currently fashionable proposals for dollarization in Latin America and other developing regions. ; The article places special emphasis on identifying and analyzing various arguments for and against dollarization in the light of existing economic theory and evidence. The author compares the relative significance of the costs and benefits. Observing that measurement problems are significant, he concludes that, remarkably, the popular belief that dollarization is a desirable reform has been reached in spite of widespread uncertainty about its economic benefits.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2000)
Issue (Month): Q3 ()
Pages: 1-12

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2000:i:q3:p:1-12:n:v.85no.3
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  1. Chang, Roberto, 1994. "Endogenous Currency Substitution, Inflationary Finance, and Welfare," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(4), pages 903-16, November.
  2. Jonathan David Ostry & Anne Marie Gulde & Atish R. Ghosh & Holger C. Wolf, 1995. "Does the Nominal Exchange Rate Regime Matter?," IMF Working Papers 95/121, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Ricardo Hausmann & Michael Gavin & Carmen Pagés-Serra & Ernesto H. Stein, 1999. "Financial Turmoil and the Choice of Exchange Rate Regime," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4128, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Ilan Goldfajn & Gino Olivares, 2000. "Is adopting Full Dollarization the solution? Looking at the evidence," Textos para discussão 416, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  5. Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andres, 1995. "Fiscal discipline and the choice of exchange rate regime," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 759-770, April.
  6. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2002. "Dollarization: Analytical Issues," NBER Working Papers 8838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ricardo Hausmann & Michael Gavin & Carmen Pagés-Serra & Ernesto H. Stein, 1999. "Financial Turmoil and Choice of Exchange Rate Regime," Research Department Publications 4170, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  8. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "Financial Panics, the Seasonality of the Nominal Interest Rate, and theFounding of the Fed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 125-40, March.
  9. Steve H. Hanke & Kurt Schuler, 1999. "A Monetary Constitution for Argentina: Rules for Dollarization," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 18(3), pages 405-419, Winter.
  10. Eduardo Borensztein & Andrew Berg, 2000. "The Pros and Cons of Full Dollarization," IMF Working Papers 00/50, International Monetary Fund.
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