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Good Housekeeping? Reputation, Fixed Exchange Rates, and the 'Original Sin' Problem

  • Prasanna Gai

    (Australian National University)

  • Kang-yong Tan

    (Australian National University)

This paper examines how the choice of exchange rate regime can signal financial rectitude and, in so doing, influence a country¡¦s ability to borrow internationally in domestic currency. We develop a model in which the constant probability of a ¡¥type change¡¦ creates incentives for disciplined policymakers to fix the exchange rate in an effort to separate themselves from more opportunistic types. Because the track record of a policymaker is imperfectly observable, reputational incentives depend on the past behaviour of previous generations and there is hysterisis in the updating behaviour of creditors. ¡¥Original sin¡¦ ¡V the inflationary track record of one¡¦s predecessors ¡V can reverberate over time leading creditors to be wary about extending sovereign loans in domestic currency terms. Our findings seem consistent with the pattern of the currency composition of debt in Japan and Russia at the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Paper provided by Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research in its series Working Papers with number 082004.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hkm:wpaper:082004
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  1. Falcetti, Elisabetta & Missale, Alessandro, 2002. "Public debt indexation and denomination with an independent central bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1825-1850, December.
  2. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," Sciences Po publications n°3077, Sciences Po.
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  7. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Financial Fragility," NBER Working Papers 7418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
  9. Grossman, Herschel I. & Van Huyck, John B., 1993. "Nominal sovereign debt, risk shifting, and reputation," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(3-4), pages 341-352.
  10. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher Meissner & Angela Redish, 2003. "How "Original Sin" was Overcome: The Evolution of External Debt Denominated in Domestic Currencies in the United States and the British Dominions," NBER Working Papers 9841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harold L. Cole & James Dow & William B. English, 1994. "Default, settlement, and signalling: lending resumption in a reputational model of sovereign debt," Staff Report 180, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Michael D. Bordo, 1995. "The Gold Standard as a `Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval'," NBER Working Papers 5340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998. "Inflation and Reputation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625, David K. Levine.
  14. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  15. Hausmann, Ricardo & Panizza, Ugo & Stein, Ernesto, 2001. "Why do countries float the way they float?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 387-414, December.
  16. Allan Drazen & Paul R. Masson, 1993. "Credibility of Policies versus Credibility of Policymakers," NBER Working Papers 4448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Koppl, Roger & Yeager, Leland B., 1996. "Big Players and Herding in Asset Markets: The Case of the Russian Ruble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 367-383, July.
  18. Jeanne, Olivier, 2003. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow in Foreign Currency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4030, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
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