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Living with the Fear of Floating: An Optimal Policy Perspective

In: Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets

  • Amartya Lahiri
  • Carlos A. Végh

As documented in recent studies, developing countries (classified by the IMF as floaters or managed floaters) are extremely reluctant to allow for large nominal exchange rate fluctuations. This 'fear of floating' is reflected in the fact that, in spite of being subject to larger shocks, developing countries exhibit lower exchange rate variability and higher reserve variability than developed countries. Moreover, there is a positive correlation between changes in the exchange rate and interest rates and a negative correlation between both changes in reserves and the exchange rate and changes in interest rates and reserves. We build a simple model that rationalizes these key features as the outcome of an optimal policy response to monetary shocks. The model incorporates three key frictions: an output cost of nominal exchange rate fluctuations, an output cost of higher interest rates to defend the currency, and a fixed cost of intervention.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Sebastian Edwards & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2002. "Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa02-2.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10646.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10646
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    1. Flood, Robert P & Jeanne, Olivier, 2000. "An Interest Rate Defence of a Fixed Exchange Rate?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Burnside, C. & Eichenbaum, M. & Rebelo, S., 1999. "Hedging and Financial Fragilities in Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," RCER Working Papers 461, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    3. Pierre-Richard Agenor & Joshua Aizenman, 1999. "Financial Sector Inefficiencies and Coordinate Failures: Implications for Crisis Management," NBER Working Papers 7446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Aizenman, Joshua, 1999. "Financial sector inefficiencies and coordination failures : implications for crisis management," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2185, The World Bank.
    5. Calvo, Guillermo A & Vegh, Carlos A, 1995. "Fighting Inflation with High Interest Rates: The Small Open Economy Case under Flexible Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 49-66, February.
    6. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2002. "Fear of floating," MPRA Paper 14000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2001. "Fixing for your life," MPRA Paper 13873, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Amartya Lahiri & Carlos A. Vegh, 2000. "Delaying the Inevitable: Optimal Interest Rate Policy and BOP Crises," NBER Working Papers 7734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Correia, Isabel & Neves, Joao C & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Business Cycles in a Small Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 996, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Barro, Robert J & Grossman, Herschel I, 1971. "A General Disequilibrium Model of Income and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 82-93, March.
    11. Sebastian Edwards & Carlos A. Végh, 1997. "Banks and Macroeconomic Disturbances Under Predetermined Exchange Rates," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 115, Universidad del CEMA.
    12. Aizenman, Joshua & Frenkel, Jacob A, 1985. "Optimal Wage Indexation, Foreign Exchange Intervention, and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 402-23, June.
    13. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1999. "Hedging and Financial Fragility in Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," NBER Working Papers 7143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cadenillas, Abel & Zapatero, Fernando, 1999. "Optimal Central Bank Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 218-242, July.
    15. Carlos A. Rodríguez, 1993. "Macroeconomic Developments in Romania," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 90, Universidad del CEMA.
    16. Pablo Druck & Pietro Garibaldi, 2000. "Inflation Risk and Portfolio Allocation in the Banking System," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 181, Universidad del CEMA.
    17. Eduardo Moron & Juan F. Castro, 2002. "Uncovering Central Bank Monetary Policy Objectives: Going Beyond Fear of Floating," Macroeconomics 0205002, EconWPA.
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