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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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  1. Gordon de Brouwer & Neil R. Ericsson, 1995. "Modelling inflation in Australia," International Finance Discussion Papers 530, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  3. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear Of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408, May.
  4. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2001. "Fixing for your life," MPRA Paper 13873, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  10. Aghion, Philippe & Bacchetta, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2001. "Currency crises and monetary policy in an economy with credit constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1121-1150.
  11. 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.
  12. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Bacchetta & Abhijit Banerjee, 1999. "Capital Markets and the Instability of Open Economies," Working Papers 99.01, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  13. Frenkel, Jacob A. & Aizenman, Joshua, 1982. "Aspects of the optimal management of exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3-4), pages 231-256, November.
  14. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Andrés Velasco, 2004. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1183-1193, September.
  15. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 1999. "Capital Flow Reversals,the Exchange Rate Debate,and Dollarization," MPRA Paper 8951, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
  17. Barry Eichengreen & Andrew K. Rose & Charles Wyplosz, 1996. "Contagious Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 5681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Ernesto H. Stein & Jeffry Frieden, 2000. "The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy in Latin America: An Analytical Overview," Research Department Publications 3118, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  19. 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.
  20. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
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