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Good Housekeeping? Reputation, Fixed Exchange Rates, and the 'Original Sin' Problem

  • Kang Yong Tan
  • Prasanna Gai

This paper examines how the choice of exchange rate regime can signal financial rectitude and, in so doing, influcence a country's ability to borrow internationally in domestic currency. We develop a model in which the constant probability of a 'type change' creates incentives for disciplined policymakers to fix the exchange rate in an effort to separate themselves from more opportunistic types. Because the track record of a policymaker is imperfectly observable, reputational incentives depend on the past behaviour of previous generations and there is hysterisis in the updating behaviour of creditors. 'Original Sin' - the inflationary track record of one's predecessors - can reverberate over time leading creditors to be wary about extending sovereign loans in domestic currency terms. Our findings seem consistent with the pattern of the currency composition of debt in Japan and Russia at the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings with number 446.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:feam04:446
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Sovereign Risk, Credibility and the Gold Standard: 1870-1913 versus 1925-31," NBER Working Papers 9345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto H. Stein, 2000. "Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?," Research Department Publications 4205, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Cole, Harold L & Dow, James & English, William B, 1995. "Default, Settlement, and Signalling: Lending Resumption in a Reputational Model of Sovereign Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 365-85, May.
  4. Tirole, Jean, 1994. ""A Theory of Collective Reputations" with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality," IDEI Working Papers 38, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 1998. "Who wants a good reputation?," Working papers 19, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Flandreau, Marc & Sussman, Nathan, 2004. "Old Sins: Exchange Rate Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Jeanne, Olivier, 2003. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow in Foreign Currency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4030, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Bordo, Michael D & Flandreau, Marc, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes and Globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 3077, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Allan Drazen & Paul R. Masson, 1993. "Credibility of Policies versus Credibility of Policymakers," NBER Working Papers 4448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Financial Fragility," NBER Working Papers 7418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hugh Rockoff & Michael D. Bordo, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval"," Departmental Working Papers 199528, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  12. repec:cup:jechis:v:60:y:2000:i:02:p:442-467_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-38, June.
  14. Falcetti, Elisabetta & Missale, Alessandro, 2002. "Public debt indexation and denomination with an independent central bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1825-1850, December.
  15. Grossman, Herschel I. & Van Huyck, John B., 1993. "Nominal sovereign debt, risk shifting, and reputation," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(3-4), pages 341-352.
  16. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  17. Gregory, Paul R., 1979. "The Russian Balance of Payments, the Gold Standard, and Monetary Policy: A Historical Example of Foreign Capital Movements," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(02), pages 379-400, June.
  18. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher Meissner & Angela Redish, 2003. "How "Original Sin" was Overcome: The Evolution of External Debt Denominated in Domestic Currencies in the United States and the British Dominions," NBER Working Papers 9841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Koppl, Roger & Yeager, Leland B., 1996. "Big Players and Herding in Asset Markets: The Case of the Russian Ruble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 367-383, July.
  20. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
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