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Official dollarization : a last resort solution to financial instability in Latin America ?


  • Alexandre MINDA (LEREPS-GRES)


This paper will analyse the debate about official dollarization in Latin America. Because of the opportunity cost of dollarization, replacing a national currency by a foreign currency is a solution of last resort to the financial instability of emerging economies. To clarify the discussion, a taxonomy of dollarization regimes is drawn up in order to make an inventory of officially dollarized countries, territories and dependencies. The foundations for adopting complete dollarization are analysed through three elements : an account of the limits to corner solutions, the identification of the economic contexts which are favourable to the adoption of foreign currencies and the reasons behind the legitimacy crisis of national currencies. To determine what is at stake in such decisions, cost advantage analysis mentions, first of all, the expected benefits highlighted by the advocates of complete dollarization. A detailed study of its potential impact will then allow us to evaluate the induced costs of the disappearance of national currencies. Finally, by looking at emerging countries that have adopted this exchange regime, the limits of adopting such a solution are underlined, particularly by the fact that the disappearance of national currencies implies an abandonment of monetary sovereignty and a loss of a powerful symbol of national assertion and identity.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre MINDA (LEREPS-GRES), 2005. "Official dollarization : a last resort solution to financial instability in Latin America ?," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2005-02, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
  • Handle: RePEc:grs:wpegrs:2005-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Masson, Paul R., 2001. "Exchange rate regime transitions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 571-586, April.
    3. William C. Gruben & Mark A. Wynne & Carlos E.J.M. Zarazaga, 2001. "Dollarization and monetary unions: implementation guidelines," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0201, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    4. Francois R. Velde & Marcelo Veracierto, 2000. "Dollarization in Argentina," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 24-37.
    5. Calvo, Guillermo A, 2001. "Capital Markets and the Exchange Rate with Special Reference to the Dollarization Debate in Latin America," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 312-334, May.
    6. Chang, Roberto & Velasco, Andres, 2000. "Financial Fragility and the Exchange Rate Regime," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-34, May.
    7. Jérôme Sgard, 2003. "Hyperinflation and the Reconstruction of a National Money: Argentina and Brazil, 1990-2002," Working Papers 2003-01, CEPII research center.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bedri Kamil Onur Tas & Selahattin Togay, 2008. "Effect of Dolarization on Macroeconomic Performance and Money-Price Relationship in Ecuador," Working Papers 0808, TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Dollarization; Latin America; exchange rate regime; monetary sovereignty;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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