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Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?

  • Ricardo Hausmann
  • Ugo Panizza
  • Ernesto H. Stein

Countries that are classified as having floating exchange rate systems (or very wide bands) show strikingly different patterns of behavior. They hold very different levels of international reserves and allow very different volatilities in the movements of the exchange rate relative to the volatility that they tolerate either on the level of reserves or in interest rates. We document these differences and present a model that explains them as the optimal response of a Central Bank that attempts to minimize a standard loss function, in an environment in which firms are credit-constrained and incomplete markets limit their ability to avoid currency mismatches. This model suggests that the difference in the way countries float could be related to their differing levels of exchange rate pass-through and differences in their ability to avoid currency mismatches. We test these implications and find a very strong and robust relationship between the pattern of floating and the ability of a country to borrow internationally in its own currency. We find weaker and less robust evidence on the importance of pass-through to account for differences across countries with respect to their exchange rate/monetary management.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 6467.

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Date of creation: May 2000
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6467
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  9. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Bacchetta & Abhijit Banerjee, 2000. "Currency Crises and Monetary Policy in an Economy with Credit Constraints," Working Papers 00.07, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  10. Laurence M. Ball, 1999. "Policy Rules for Open Economies," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 127-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 2000. "Exchange rate dynamics in a model of pricing-to-market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 215-244, February.
  12. Joshua Aizenman & Jacob A. Frenkel, 1984. "Optimal Wage Indexation, Foreign-Exchange Intervention and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. de Brouwer, Gordon & Ericsson, Neil R, 1998. "Modeling Inflation in Australia," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(4), pages 433-49, October.
  14. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
  15. Philippe Bacchetta, 2000. "Monetary Policy with Foreign Currency Debt," Working Papers 00.03, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  16. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. " Contagious Currency Crises: First Tests," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(4), pages 463-84, December.
  17. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2001. "Fixing for your life," MPRA Paper 13873, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Jacob A. Frenkel & Joshua Aizenman, 1981. "Aspects of the Optimal Management of Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 0748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
  20. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 1999. "Inversión de las corrientes de capital, tipo de cambio y dolarización
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    ," MPRA Paper 13692, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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