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The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy in Brazil: 1964-1997

  • Marco Bonomo
  • Cristina Terra

This paper analyzes political economy determinants of exchange rate policy in Brazil over the past thirty years. Two complementary methodologies are used. The first consists of investigating the exchange rate policy historical context over this period. Thus, part of the paper is dedicated to an historical account of the political economy of the exchange rate policy in Brazil from 1964 to 1997. The driving force affecting exchange rate policy was the tradeoff between the positive effect of a depreciated exchange rate on the balance of payments and its negative effect on inflation. The exchange rate policy resulting from this tradeoff depended on the political environment. An analytical framework is sketched to interpret the real exchange rate policy history, and then it is extended to encompass short-run election cycles. The second methodology is statistical. A Markov Switching Model is used to characterize statistically the exchange rate regimes, defined as valued or devalued real exchange rates, and the influence of political economy variables on regime changes. The results support the interpretation pursued in the analytical part. We found statistical evidence that the probability of an appreciated exchange rate is higher under democracy than under dictatorship. Furthermore, according to our statistical results there is also an election cycle: the probability of having an appreciated exchange rate is higher in the months preceding elections while the probability of having a depreciated exchange rate is higher in the months succeeding elections.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3065.

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Date of creation: May 1999
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3065
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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth & Sibert, Anne, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
  2. Stein, Ernesto H. & Streb, Jorge M., 2004. "Elections and the timing of devaluations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 119-145, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Francis X. Diebold & Joon-Haeng Lee & Gretchen C. Weinbach, 1993. "Regime switching with time-varying transition probabilities," Working Papers 93-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  6. Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo O. Valdes, 1996. "The Aftermath of Appreciations," NBER Working Papers 5650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kaminsky, Graciela, 1993. "Is There a Peso Problem? Evidence from the Dollar/Pound Exchange Rate, 1976-1987," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 450-72, June.
  8. Bollen, Nicolas P. B. & Gray, Stephen F. & Whaley, Robert E., 2000. "Regime switching in foreign exchange rates: Evidence from currency option prices," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 239-276.
  9. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  10. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Maria Cristina Terra, 1995. "Openess and inflation: a new assessment," Textos para discussão 339, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  12. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1992. "An Interpretation of Recent Research on Exchange Rate Target Zones," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
  13. Michael Bruno, 1989. "Israel's Crisis and Economic Reform: A Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 3075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-78, August.
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