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International Medium of Exchange: Privilege and Duty

Author

Listed:
  • Ryan Chahrour

    () (Boston College)

  • Rosen Valchev

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

The United States enjoys an “exorbitant privilege” that allows it to borrow at especially low interest rates. Meanwhile, the dollarization of world trade appears to shield the U.S. from international disturbances. We provide a new theory that links dollarization and exorbitant privilege through the need for an international medium of exchange. We consider a two-country world where international trade happens in decentralized matching markets, and must be collateralized by assets — a.k.a. currencies — issued by one of the two countries. Traders have an incentive to coordinate their currency choices and a single dominant currency arises in equilibrium. With small heterogeneity in traders’ information, the model delivers a unique mapping from economic conditions to the dominant currency. Nevertheless, the model delivers a dynamic multiplicity: in steady-state either currency can serve as the international medium of exchange. The economy with the dominant currency enjoys lower interest rates and the ability to run current account deficits indefinitely. Currency regimes are stable, but sufficiently large shocks or policy changes can lead to transitions, with large welfare implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan Chahrour & Rosen Valchev, 2017. "International Medium of Exchange: Privilege and Duty," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 934, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:934
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Tybout & David Jinkins & Daniel Yi Xu & Jonathan Eaton, 2016. "Two-sided Search in International Markets," 2016 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Mathieu Taschereau-Dumouchel & Edouard Schaal, 2015. "Coordinating Business Cycles," 2015 Meeting Papers 178, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Marcela Eslava & James Tybout & David Jinkins & C. Krizan & Jonathan Eaton, 2015. "A Search and Learning Model of Export Dynamics," 2015 Meeting Papers 1535, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Camila Casas & Federico J. Díez & Gita Gopinath & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2016. "Dominant Currency Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 22943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Linda S. Goldberg, 2011. "The international role of the dollar: Does it matter if this changes?," Staff Reports 522, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rosen Valchev, 2017. "Bond Convenience Yields and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 943, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Gita Gopinath & Jeremy C. Stein, 2018. "Banking, Trade, and the making of a Dominant Currency," NBER Working Papers 24485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Home Bias; Information Choice; Portfolio Choice; Dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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