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The social cost of foreign exchange reserves

  • Dani Rodrik

There has been a very rapid rise since the early 1990s in foreign reserves held by developing countries. These reserves have climbed to almost 30% of developing countries' GDP and 8 months of imports. Assuming reasonable spreads between the yield on reserve assets and the cost of foreign borrowing, the income loss to these countries amounts to close to 1% of GDP. Conditional on existing levels of short-term foreign borrowing, this does not seem too steep a price as an insurance premium against financial crises. But why developing countries have not tried harder to reduce short-term foreign liabilities in order to achieve the same level of liquidity (thereby paying a smaller cost in terms of reserve accumulation) remains an important puzzle.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 253-266

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Handle: RePEc:taf:intecj:v:20:y:2006:i:3:p:253-266
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  1. Fernando A. Broner & Guido Lorenzoni & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2007. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?," NBER Working Papers 13076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Raghuram G. Rajan & Eswar S. Prasad, 2005. "Controlled Capital Account Liberalisation: A Proposal," Working Papers id:278, eSocialSciences.
  3. Michael Hutchison & Ilan Noy (Neuberger), 2002. "Sudden stops and the Mexican wave: currency crises, capital flow reversals and output loss in emerging markets," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 2002-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. David Hauner, 2006. "A Fiscal Price Tag for International Reserves," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 169-195, 08.
  5. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2006. "Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6889.
  6. Steven B. Kamin, 2002. "Identifying the role of moral hazard in international financial markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 736, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Aizenman, Joshua & LEE, JAEWOO, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt44g3n2j8, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. repec:bge:wpaper:185 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Feldstein, Martin, 1999. "A Self-Help Guide for Emerging Markets," Scholarly Articles 2961700, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Romain Ranciere & Olivier Jeanne, 2006. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries; Formulas and Applications," IMF Working Papers 06/229, International Monetary Fund.
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