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How Strong is the Case for Dollarization in Central America? An Empirical Analysis of Business Cycles, Credit Market Imperfections and the Exchange Rate

In this paper, we contrast two different views in the debate on official dollarization. The Mundell (1961) framework of optimal currency areas and a model on boom-bust cycles, by Schneider and Tornell (2004), who take account of credit market imperfections prevalent in middle income countries. We highlight that the role of the exchange rate is strikingly different in the two models. While in the Mundell framework the exchange rate is expected to smooth the business cycle, the other model predicts that the exchange rate plays an amplifying role. We empirically evaluate both models for eight highly dollarized Central American economies, and find that the main benefit of official dollarization derives from avoiding a mismatch between foreign currency liabilities and domestic revenues, as well as the boom-bust episodes that are likely to follow from it. Using a new method of Cubadda (1999, 2007), we furthermore test for cyclical comovement and reject the hypothesis that the countries form an optimal currency area with the United States according to the Mundell definition.

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Paper provided by Institute of Empirical Economic Research in its series Working Papers with number 83.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 05 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:iee:wpaper:wp0083
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  1. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises; A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Robert Mundell, 2000. "Currency Areas, Exchange Rate Systems and International Monetary Reform," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 217-256, November.
  3. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Lai, Kon S, 1995. "Lag Order and Critical Values of the Augmented Dickey-Fuller Test," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 277-80, July.
  4. Ahmed, Shaghil, 2003. "Sources of economic fluctuations in Latin America and implications for choice of exchange rate regimes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 181-202, October.
  5. Edgar L. Feige & Vedran Šošiæ & Michael Faulend & Velimir Šonje, 2002. "Unofficial Dollarization in Latin America: Currency Substitution, Network Externalities and Irreversibility," International Finance 0205002, EconWPA.
  6. Mishkin, Frederic S. & Savastano, Miguel A., 2001. "Monetary policy strategies for Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2685, The World Bank.
  7. Vahid, Farshid & Engle, Robert F., 1997. "Codependent cycles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 199-221, October.
  8. Berger, Helge & Jensen, Henrik & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2001. "To peg or not to peg?: A simple model of exchange rate regime choice in small economies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 161-167, November.
  9. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 1998. "Financial crises in Asia and Latin America: Then and now," MPRA Paper 13877, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Yin-wong Cheung & Jude Yuen, 2005. "An Output Perspective on a Northeast Asia Currency Union," Working Papers 162005, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  11. Urga, Giovanni, 2007. "Common Features in Economics and Finance: An Overview of Recent Developments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 2-11, January.
  12. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Rodrigo Valdes & Oscar Landerretche, 2001. "Lending Booms: Latin America and the World," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  13. Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann, 2005. "Boom-Bust Cycles and Financial Liberalization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262201593, June.
  14. Cubadda, Gianluca, 2007. "A unifying framework for analysing common cyclical features in cointegrated time series," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 896-906, October.
  15. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Cubadda, Gianluca, 1999. "Common Cycles in Seasonal Non-stationary Time Series," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 273-91, May-June.
  17. Luis Ignacio Jácome, 2008. "Central Bank Involvement in Banking Crises in Latin America," IMF Working Papers 08/135, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Freund, Caroline & Spatafora, Nikola, 2008. "Remittances, transaction costs, and informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 356-366, June.
  19. Åke Lönnberg & Luis Ignacio Jácome, 2010. "Implementing official Dollarization," IMF Working Papers 10/106, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Gourieroux, Christian & Peaucelle, Irina, 1989. "Detecting a long run relationship (with an application to the p.p.p. hypothesis)," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8902, CEPREMAP.
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