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Currency Boards in the Baltic Countries: What Have We Learned?

  • Iikka Korhonen

Straightforward exchange rate arrangements known as currency boards have gained popularity during the past decade. Among transition economies, Estonia first introduced a currency board in 1992, followed by Lithuania in 1994 and Bulgaria in 1997. Currency boards have been useful in achieving macroeconomic stabilisation, and they may have helped the Baltics become the first countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) to achieve economic growth after the slump in production of the early 1990s. Moreover, Baltic inflation performance has been substantially better than in other FSU countries. Both in Estonia and Lithuania the present exchange rate system has been accompanied by strong real appreciation of the currency, although it is widely accepted that the currencies were very much undervalued when they were initially pegged. However, if rapid real appreciation is accompanied by increases in labour productivity, the present pegs can be maintained. Banking crises in Estonia and Lithuania have not been particularly severe, so apparently rigid currency pegs have not been accompanied by excessive financial sector instability. The tight fiscal policies pursued in both countries, especially Estonia, have been instrumental to the success of these currency board arrangements.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Post-Communist Economies.

Volume (Year): 12 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 25-46

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Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:12:y:2000:i:1:p:25-46
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  1. Yum K. Kwan & Francis Lui, 1999. "Hong Kong's Currency Board and Changing Monetary Regimes," NBER Chapters, in: Changes in Exchange Rates in Rapidly Developing Countries: Theory, Practice, and Policy Issues (NBER-EASE volume 7), pages 403-436 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  3. repec:imf:imfpdp:9711 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. John Williamson, 1995. "What Role of Currency Boards?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa40.
  5. Atish R. Ghosh, 1998. "Currency Boards; The Ultimate Fix?," IMF Working Papers 98/8, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Fleming, Alex & Lily Chu & Bakker, Marie-Renee, 1996. "The Baltics - Banking crises observed," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1647, The World Bank.
  7. Loungani, Prakash & Sheets, Nathan, 1997. "Central Bank Independence, Inflation, and Growth in Transition Economies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 381-99, August.
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