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Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?

  • Roc Armenter
  • Martin Bodenstein

The Barro-Gordon inflation bias has provided the most influential argument for fixed exchange rate regimes. However, with low inflation rates now widespread, credibility concerns seem no longer relevant. Why give up independent monetary policy to contain an inflation bias that is already under control? We argue that credibility problems do not end with the inflation bias and they are a larger drawback for flexible exchange rates than usually thought. Absent commitment, independent monetary policy can induce expectation traps---that is, welfare ranked multiple equilibria---and perverse policy responses to real shocks, i.e., an equilibrium policy response that is welfare inferior to policy inaction. Both possibilities imply that flexible exchange rates feature unnecessary macroeconomic volatility.

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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 865.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:865
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  1. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408.
  2. Cooley, Thomas F & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2001. "The Cost of Losing Monetary Independence: The Case of Mexico," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 370-97, May.
  3. David Romer, 1991. "Openness and inflation: theory and evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
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  9. 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.
  10. Armenter, Roc & Bodenstein, Martin, 2008. "Can The U.S. Monetary Policy Fall (Again) In An Expectation Trap?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 664-693, November.
  11. Mendoza, Enrique G, 2001. "The Benefits of Dollarization When Stabilization Policy Lacks Credibility and Financial Markets Are Imperfect," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 440-74, May.
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  13. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-Fulfilling Features," NBER Working Papers 5285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, `Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," NBER Working Papers 5251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2003. "Globalization and global disinflation," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 45-78.
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  18. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dupor, Bill, 2003. "Optimal random monetary policy with nominal rigidity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 66-78, September.
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  21. Andres Velasco & Roberto Chang, 2000. "Exchange-Rate Policy for Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 71-75, May.
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