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International Reserves and Swap Lines in Times of Financial Distress : Overview and Interpretations

  • Joshua Aizenman

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

In this paper I review the use of precautionary measures aimed at mitigating emerging markets exposure to fragility associated with financial integration. The discussion draws possible lessons from the ongoing global liquidity crisis. The fear of losing international reserves (IR) constrained most emerging markets more than the fear of floating. The fear of using IR during a crisis suggests that emerging markets (EMs) opt to revisit the gains from financial globalization. High levels of IR may be required for the self insurance offered by those reserves to be effective. Under such circumstances, countries may benefit by supplementing the hoarding of IR with Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy policies. These policies would reduce external borrowing, and would fund the marginal hoarding of IR. The fear of losing IR also suggests a greater demand for regional pooling arrangements and swap lines as well as possible new roles for international financial institutions (IFI).

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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Finance Working Papers with number 23008.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eab:financ:23008
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
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  1. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "The Social Cost of Foreign Exchange Reserves," NBER Working Papers 11952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2001. "Smoothing Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 8427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S, 2005. "The Unsustainable US Current Account Position Revisited," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4f63x50j, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Joshua Aizenman, 2010. "Hoarding international reserves versus a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme: Reflections on the deleveraging crisis of 2008-9, and a cost benefit analysis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
  6. Aizenman, Joshua & Lee, Yeonho & Rhee, Yeongseop, 2004. "International reserves management and capital mobility in a volatile world: Policy considerations and a case study of Korea," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1867f7ng, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  7. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin & Park, Donghyun, 2011. "International reserves and swap lines: Substitutes or complements?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 5-18, January.
  10. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  11. Yin-Wong Cheung & Xingwang Qian, 2009. "Hoarding of International Reserves: Mrs Machlup's Wardrobe and the Joneses," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 824-843, 09.
  12. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2009. "Bretton Woods Ii Still Defines The International Monetary System," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 297-311, 08.
  13. Joshua Aizenman & Yi Sun, 2009. "The financial crisis and sizable international reserves depletion: From 'fear of floating' to the 'fear of losing international reserves'?," NBER Working Papers 15308, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Aizenman, Joshua & Pasricha, Gurnain, 2009. "Selective Swap Arrangements and the Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Interpretation," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2vw7s14s, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  15. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza, 2003. "Currency Mismatches, Debt Intolerance and Original Sin: Why They Are Not the Same and Why it Matters," NBER Working Papers 10036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Paul Krugman, 2000. "Fire-Sale FDI," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 43-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Aizenman, Joshua & Sun, Yi, 2009. "The financial crisis and sizable international reserves depletion: From ‘fear of floating’ to the ‘fear of losing international reserves’?," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6rf4r8v8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  18. Romain Ranciere & Olivier Jeanne, 2006. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries: Formulas and Applications," IMF Working Papers 06/229, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Sebastian Edwards & Márcio G. P. Garcia, 2008. "Financial Markets Volatility and Performance in Emerging Markets," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa05-1, December.
  20. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408.
  21. Marc Flandreau & Clemens Jobst, 2009. "The Empirics of International Currencies: Network Externalities, History and Persistence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 643-664, 04.
  22. Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 2008. "Liquidity Insurance in a Financially Dollarized Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets Volatility and Performance in Emerging Markets, pages 185-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Ronald Ian McKinnon, 2007. "The US current account deficits and the dollar standard’s sustainability: A monetary approach," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 8(4), pages 12-23, 01.
  24. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2008. "Assessing the Emerging Global Financial Architecture: Measuring the Trilemma's Configurations over Time," NBER Working Papers 14533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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