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Fear of Floating Needn't Imply Fixed Rates: Feasible Options for Intermediate Exchange Rate Regimes

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  • Thomas D. Willett

    (Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University)

Abstract

The criteria of the theory of optimum currency areas suggest that many (most?) countries are not good candidates for either of the poles of genuinely fixed exchange rates or freely floating exchange rates. Thus many countries should have an interest in intermediate exchange rate regimes. However, in a world of substantial capital mobility most forms of intermediate exchange rate regimes have proven to be highly crisis prone. The paper argues that the unholy trinity analysis doesn't imply that intermediate exchange rate regimes are inherently unstable, but rather that exchange rate and monetary policies need to be jointly determined. The difficulties of maintaining such consistency are as much political as economic since temporarily pegged or managed rates create a time inconsistency problem. Therefore policy officials need some institutional insulation from short sighted political pressures. A problem with most intermediate regimes is that they have focused on particular forms of limited exchange rate flexibility per se, rather than the weight that should be given to the exchange rate in setting monetary policy. It is argued that OCA theory provides the framework for determining the appropriate weights and limits on the amount of sterilized intervention to maintain the consistency between exchange rate and monetary policies necessary to avoid currency crises. The paper also considers a number of the issues involved in integrating their approach with the literature on open economy aspects of inflation targeting.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas D. Willett, 2002. "Fear of Floating Needn't Imply Fixed Rates: Feasible Options for Intermediate Exchange Rate Regimes," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-18, Claremont Colleges.
  • Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2002-18
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    File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2002-18.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1009-1025, July.
    2. Laurence Ball, 2002. "Policy Rules and External Shocks," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy: Rules and Transmission Mechanisms, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 047-064 Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408.
    4. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
    5. Bofinger, Peter & Wollmershäuser, Timo, 2001. "Managed floating: Understanding the new international monetary order," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 30, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
    6. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
    7. Choudhri, Ehsan U. & Hakura, Dalia S., 2006. "Exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices: Does the inflationary environment matter?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 614-639, June.
    8. Barry Eichengreen, 2006. "Can Emerging Markets Float? Should They Inflation Target?," Chapters,in: Monetary Integration and Dollarization, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Svensson, Lars E. O., 2000. "Open-economy inflation targeting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 155-183, February.
    10. William H. Branson & Jacob A. Frenkel & Morris Goldstein, 1990. "International Policy Coordination and Exchange Rate Fluctuations," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bran90-1, January.
    11. Willett, Thomas D & Wolf, Matthias, 1983. "The Vicious Circle Debate: Some Conceptual Distinctions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 231-248.
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    Cited by:

    1. Isriya Nitithanprapas & Thomas D. Willett, 2002. "Classifying Exchange Rate Regimes," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-22, Claremont Colleges.
    2. Alexis Cruz-Rodriguez, 2013. "Choosing and Assessing Exchange Rate Regimes: a Survey of the Literature," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 28(2), pages 37-61, October.
    3. Tony Cavoli & Ramkishen Rajan, 2003. "Designing Appropriate Exchange Rate Regimes for East Asia: Inflation Targeting and Monetary Policy Rules," Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers 2003-09, University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies.
    4. corrinne ho & robert n mccauley, 2004. "Living with flexible exchange rates:," International Finance 0411003, EconWPA.
    5. García-Solanes, José & Torrejón-Flores, Fernando, 2012. "Inflation targeting works well in Latin America," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    6. Tony Cavoli & Ramkishen S. Rajan, 2006. "Inflation Targeting Arrangements in Asia: Exploring the Role of the Exchange Rate," SCAPE Policy Research Working Paper Series 0603, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics, SCAPE.

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    Keywords

    political economy; capital mobility; exchange rates; discipline;

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