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Precautionary demand for foreign assets in sudden stop economies: an assessment of the new mercantilism

  • Ceyhun Bora Durdu
  • Enrique G. Mendoza
  • Marco E. Terrones

Financial globalization had a rocky start in emerging economies hit by Sudden Stops. Foreign reserves have grown very rapidly since then, as if those countries were practicing a New Mercantilism that views foreign reserves as a war-chest for defense against Sudden Stops. This paper conducts a quantitative assessment of this argument using a stochastic intertemporal equilibrium framework in which precautionary foreign asset demand is driven by output variability, financial globalization, and Sudden Stop risk. In this framework, credit constraints produce endogenous Sudden Stops. We find that financial globalization and Sudden Stop risk can explain the surge in reserves but output variability cannot. These results hold using the intertemporal preferences of the Bewley-Aiyagari-Hugget precautionary savings model or the Uzawa-Epstein setup with endogenous impatience.

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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 911.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:911
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  1. C. Bora Durdu & Enrique G. Mendoza & Marco Terrones, 2007. "Precautionary Demand for Foreign Assets in Sudden Stop Economies: An Assessment of the New Mercantilism: Working Paper 2007-10," Working Papers 18952, Congressional Budget Office.
  2. Aizenman, Joshua & LEE, JAEWOO, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt44g3n2j8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  3. Marco E. Terrones & Enrique G. Mendoza & Ceyhun Bora Durdu, 2008. "Precautionary Demand for Foreign Assets in Sudden Stop Economies: An Assessment of the New Mercantilism," 2008 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  13. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2006. "Real Exchange Rate Volatility and the Price of Nontradables in Sudden-Stop-Prone Economies," IMF Working Papers 06/88, International Monetary Fund.
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  24. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2006. "Lessons From the Debt-Deflation Theory of Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 11966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  26. Romain Ranciere & Olivier D Jeanne, 2006. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries; Formulas and Applications," IMF Working Papers 06/229, International Monetary Fund.
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