Fear of Floating Needn't Imply Fixed Rates: An OCA Approach to the Operation of Stable Intermediate Currency Regimes
The criteria of the theory of optimum currency areas suggest that many countries are not good candidates for either of the poles of genuinely fixed exchange rates or freely floating exchange rates. Thus, many countries should have an interest in intermediate exchange rate regimes. However, in a world of substantial capital mobility most forms of intermediate exchange rate regimes have proven to be highly crisis prone. This essay argues that the unholy trinity paradigm doesn't imply that intermediate exchange rate regimes are inherently unstable, but rather that exchange rate and monetary policies need to be jointly determined. The difficulties of maintaining such consistency are as much political as economic since temporarily pegged or managed rates create a time inconsistency problem. It is argued that OCA theory provides the framework for determining the appropriate weights and limits on the amount of sterilized intervention to maintain the consistency between exchange rate and monetary policies necessary to avoid currency crises. The paper also considers a number of the issues involved in integrating this approach with the literature on open economy aspects of inflation targeting. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003
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