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Stabilizing Properties of Flexible Exchange Rates: Evidence from the Global Financial Crisis


  • Joseph E. Gagnon

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


Inflation targeting countries with flexible exchange rates performed better during the global financial crisis and its aftermath than countries with a fixed exchange rate. Countries that maintained a hard fixed exchange rate throughout the past six years performed somewhat better than those that abandoned it. But, abandoning a hard fix during a crisis is itself evidence of the economic costs of fixed rates. It is particularly telling that no inflation targeting country with a flexible exchange rate abandoned its regime during the crisis. Policymakers in many countries are averse to volatile exchange rates—they have a "fear of floating." Gagnon's results strongly suggest that flexible exchange rates enable countries to weather crises better than fixed rates and that the benefits of flexible rates are not limited to large countries. Policymakers should replace their fear of floating with a fear of fixing.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Gagnon, 2013. "Stabilizing Properties of Flexible Exchange Rates: Evidence from the Global Financial Crisis," Policy Briefs PB13-28, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:pbrief:pb13-28

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Flood, Robert P. & Rose, Andrew K., 1995. "Fixing exchange rates A virtual quest for fundamentals," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 3-37, August.
    2. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408.
    3. Anders Aslund, 2010. "The Last Shall Be the First: The East European Financial Crisis," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 5218.
    4. Rose, Andrew K., 2014. "Surprising similarities: Recent monetary regimes of small economies," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(PA), pages 5-27.
    5. Klein, Michael W. & Shambaugh, Jay C., 2012. "Exchange Rate Regimes in the Modern Era," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026251799x, January.
    6. Stanley Fischer, 2001. "Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bipolar View Correct?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amalia Morales-Zumaquero & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, 2015. "Growth dynamics, financial crises and exchange rate regimes," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(10), pages 767-771, July.
    2. Ouyang, Alice Y. & Rajan, Ramkishen S. & Li, Jie, 2016. "Exchange rate regimes and real exchange rate volatility: Does inflation targeting help or hurt?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 62-72.

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