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The mirage of fixed exchange rates

  • Maurice Obstfeld
  • Kenneth Rogoff

This paper discusses the profound difficulties of maintaining fixed exchange rates in a world of expanding global capital markets. Contrary to popular wisdom, industrialized-country monetary authorities easily have the resources to defend exchange parities against virtually any private speculative attack. But if their commitment to use those resources lacks credibility with markets, the costs to the broader economy of defending an exchange-rate peg can be very high. The dynamic interplay between credibility and commitment is illustrated by the 1992 Swedish and British crises.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory with number 95-08.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Publication status: Published in Conference on Monetary Policy in a Changing Financial Environment ; Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1995, v. 9, no. 4, p73-96)
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfap:95-08
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  1. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  2. Kenneth A. Froot & Kenneth Rogoff, 1994. "Perspectives on PPP and Long-Run Real Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 4952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 624-60, June.
  4. Svensson, L.E.O., 1993. "Fixed Exchange Rates As a Means to Price Stability: What Have we Learned?," Papers 553, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  6. Andrew K. Rose & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1993. "European Exchange Rate Credibility Before the Fall," NBER Working Papers 4495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  8. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, June.
  9. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rudiger Dornbusch & Alejandro Werner, 1994. "Mexico: Stabilization, Reform, and No Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 253-316.
  12. Garber, Peter M. & Svensson, Lars E.O., 1995. "The operation and collapse of fixed exchange rate regimes," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 1865-1911 Elsevier.
  13. Garber, Peter & Taylor, Mark P, 1995. "Sand in the Wheels of Foreign Exchange Markets: A Sceptical Note," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 173-80, January.
  14. David T. Beers & Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1983. "Speculations about the speculation against the Hong Kong dollar," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  15. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  16. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  17. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
  18. Williamson, John, 1993. "Exchange Rate Management," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 188-97, January.
  19. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  20. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
  21. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "Can international monetary policy cooperation be counterproductive?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 199-217, May.
  22. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  23. Barry Eichengreen., 1993. "International Monetary Arrangements for the 21st Century," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-021, University of California at Berkeley.
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