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

  • Thomas D. Willett

    (Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University)

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    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.

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    Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2002-18.

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    Date of creation: May 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2002-18
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    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
    2. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2002. "Fear of floating," MPRA Paper 14000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Policy Rules and External Shocks," NBER Working Papers 7910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bofinger, Peter & Wollmershaeuser, Timo, 2001. "Managed Floating: Understanding the New International Monetary Order," CEPR Discussion Papers 3064, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Barry Eichengreen, 2006. "Can Emerging Markets Float? Should They Inflation Target?," Chapters, in: Monetary Integration and Dollarization, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
    6. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," NBER Working Papers 5700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Svensson, L.E.O., 1998. "Open-Economy Inflation Targeting," Papers 638, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    8. 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.
    9. Willett, Thomas D & Wolf, Matthias, 1983. "The Vicious Circle Debate: Some Conceptual Distinctions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 231-48.
    10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
    11. 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, December.
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