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Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?

Listed author(s):
  • 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, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4205.

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Date of creation: May 2000
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4205
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  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. Laurence M. Ball, 1999. "Policy Rules for Open Economies," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 127-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit & Bacchetta, Philippe & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Currency Crises and Monetary Policy in an Economy with Credit Constraints," Scholarly Articles 4554218, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fixing for Your Life," NBER Working Papers 8006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," CEPR Discussion Papers 1511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 1999. "Inversión de las corrientes de capital, tipo de cambio y dolarización
    [Capital Flow Reversals, the Exchange Rate Debate, and Dollarization]
    ," MPRA Paper 13692, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
  13. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
  14. Aizenman, Joshua & Frenkel, Jacob A, 1985. "Optimal Wage Indexation, Foreign Exchange Intervention, and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 402-423, June.
  15. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew K & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. "Contagious Currency Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 1453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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.).
  17. Sebastian Edwards & Miguel A. Savastano, 1999. "Exchange Rates in Emerging Economies: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?," NBER Working Papers 7228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. " Contagious Currency Crises: First Tests," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(4), pages 463-484, December.
  19. Philippe Bacchetta, 2000. "Monetary Policy with Foreign Currency Debt," Working Papers 00.03, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  20. 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.
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