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Are depreciations as contractionary as devaluations? A comparison of selected emerging and industrial economies

  • Shaghil Ahmed
  • Christopher J. Gust
  • Steven B. Kamin
  • Jonathan Huntley

According to conventional models, flexible exchange rates play an equilibrating role in open economies, depreciating in response to adverse shocks, boosting net exports, and stimulating aggregate demand. However, critics argue that, at least in developing countries, devaluations are more contractionary and more inflationary than conventional theories would predict. Yet, it is not clear whether devaluations per se have led to adverse outcomes, or rather the disruptive abandonments of pegged exchange-rate regimes associated with devaluations. To explore this hypothesis, we estimate VAR models to compare the responses to devaluation of developing economies and two types of industrial economies: those that have consistently floated, and those that have sustained fixed exchange-rate regimes as well. We find that both of these types of industrial economies exhibit conventional (i.e., expansionary) responses to devaluation shocks, compared with the contractionary responses exhibited by developing countries. This finding suggests that exchange rate movements may be more destabilizing in developing countries than in industrial countries, regardless of exchange rate regime.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 737.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:737
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  1. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fixing for Your Life," NBER Working Papers 8006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1-48, February.
  3. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
  4. Kamin, Steve B. & Rogers, John H., 2000. "Output and the real exchange rate in developing countries: an application to Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 85-109, February.
  5. Shaghil Ahmed, 1999. "Sources of economic fluctuations in Latin America and implications for choice of exchange rate regimes," International Finance Discussion Papers 656, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1991. "Output, devaluation and the real exchange rate in developing countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 18-41, March.
  7. Luis Felipe Cespedes & Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2000. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," NBER Working Papers 7840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jonathan David Ostry & Anne Marie Gulde & Atish R. Ghosh & Holger C. Wolf, 1995. "Does the Nominal Exchange Rate Regime Matter?," IMF Working Papers 95/121, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Carmen Reinhart, 1994. "Devaluation, Relative Prices, and International Trade; Evidence From Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 94/140, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Christopher Gust & Jorge Roldos, 2002. "Monetary Policy in a Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 9005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Steven B. Kamin & Marc Klau, 1997. "Some multi-country evidence on the effects of real exchange rates on output," BIS Working Papers 48, Bank for International Settlements.
  12. Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto H. Stein, 2000. "Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6467, Inter-American Development Bank.
  13. J. Saul Lizondo & Peter J. Montiel, 1989. "Contractionary Devaluation in Developing Countries: An Analytical Overview," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(1), pages 182-227, March.
  14. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "No Single Currency Regime is Right for All Countries or At All Times," NBER Working Papers 7338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hausmann, Ricardo & Panizza, Ugo & Stein, Ernesto, 2001. "Why do countries float the way they float?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 387-414, December.
  16. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2001. "Reflections on Dollarization," MPRA Paper 8206, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro, 2001. "Dollarization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 381-385, May.
  18. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Financial Fragility," NBER Working Papers 7418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Steven B. Kamin, 1998. "A multi-country comparison of the linkages between inflation and exchange rate competitiveness," International Finance Discussion Papers 603, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Carlos F. Diaz Alejandro, 1963. "A Note on the Impact of Devaluation and the Redistributive Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 577.
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