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

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  • Roc Armenter
  • Martin Bodenstein

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Roc Armenter & Martin Bodenstein, 2006. "Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?," International Finance Discussion Papers 865, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:865
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 2013. "Bretton Woods and the Great Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking, pages 449-489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Armenter, Roc & Bodenstein, Martin, 2008. "Can The U.S. Monetary Policy Fall (Again) In An Expectation Trap?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(5), pages 664-693, November.
    3. Bodenstein Martin R. & Armenter Roc, 2009. "Of Nutters and Doves," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, September.
    4. Cooke, Dudley, 2006. "Openness and Inflation," Economics Discussion Papers 8907, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

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    Keywords

    Foreign exchange rates; Inflation (Finance); Monetary policy;
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