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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. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  2. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "Expectation traps and monetary policy," Staff Report 319, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
  4. Dupor, Bill, 2003. "Optimal random monetary policy with nominal rigidity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 66-78, September.
  5. King, Robert G. & Wolman, Alexander L., 2004. "Monetary discretion, pricing complementarity and dynamic multiple equilibria," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/22, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  6. Obstfeld, Maurice & Duarte, Margarida, 2005. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: The Case for Exchange-Rate Flexibility Restored," 2005 Meeting Papers 386, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Roc Armenter, 2008. "A General Theory (and Some Evidence) of Expectation Traps in Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(5), pages 867-895, 08.
  8. Cristina Arellano & Jonathan Heathcote, 2007. "Dollarization and financial integration," Staff Report 385, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. 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.
  11. Andres Velasco & Roberto Chang, 2000. "Exchange-Rate Policy for Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 71-75, May.
  12. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2000. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: Price Setting and Exchange Rate Flexibility," Working Papers 042000, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  13. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2001. "The benefits of dollarization when stabilization policy lacks credibility and financial markets are imperfect," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 440-481.
  14. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1996. "Expectation Traps and Discretion," NBER Working Papers 5541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. David Romer, 1993. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 869-903.
  18. Roc Armenter & Martin Bodenstein, 2006. "Can the U.S. monetary policy fall (again) in an expectation trap?," International Finance Discussion Papers 860, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2003. "Globalization and global disinflation," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-112.
  20. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2002. "Dollarization: Analytical Issues," NBER Working Papers 8838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
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