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Hoarding of International Reserves: Mrs Machlup’s Wardrobe and the Joneses

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  • Yin-Wong Cheung
  • Xingwang Qian

Abstract

Motivated by the observed international reserve hoarding behavior in the post-1997 crisis period, we explore the Mrs Machlup’s wardrobe hypothesis and the related keeping up with the Joneses argument. It is conceived that, in addition to psychological reasons, holding a relatively high level of international reserves reduces the vulnerability to speculative attacks and promotes growth. A stylized model is constructed to illustrate this type of hoarding behavior. The relevance of the keeping up with the Joneses effect is examined using a few plausible empirical specifications and data from 10 East Asian economies. Panel-based regression results are suggestive of the presence of the Joneses effect; especially in the post-1997 crisis period. Individual economy estimation results, however, show that the Joneses effect varies across economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Yin-Wong Cheung & Xingwang Qian, 2007. "Hoarding of International Reserves: Mrs Machlup’s Wardrobe and the Joneses," CESifo Working Paper Series 2065, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2065
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grubel, Herbert G, 1971. "The Demand for International Reserves: A Critical Review of the Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1148-1166, December.
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    3. Stanley Fischer, 1999. "On the Need for an International Lender of Last Resort," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 85-104, Fall.
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    5. Jacob A. Frenkel & Boyan Jovanovic, 1980. "On Transactions and Precautionary Demand for Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(1), pages 25-43.
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    8. Robert P Flood & Nancy P. Marion, 2002. "Holding International Reserves in an Era of High Capital Mobility," IMF Working Papers 02/62, International Monetary Fund.
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    13. Pablo García & Claudio Soto, 2006. "Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Ricardo Caballero & César Calderón & Luis Felipe Céspedes & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Sc (ed.), External Vulnerability and Preventive Policies, edition 1, volume 10, chapter 6, pages 171-206 Central Bank of Chile.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    demand for international reserves; excessive international reserve accumulation; speculative attack; keeping up with the Joneses;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General

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